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The center aims to conduct, support, and share academic and practical research. With special attention to issues surrounding the reform of laws prohibiting or regulating the use and distribution of traditionally illicit drugs. Research efforts include grant programs, hosting visiting scholars and supporting three faculty members at the Moritz College of Law, College of Social Work, and John Glenn College of Public Affairs.
“As the nation grapples with the opioid epidemic and the fast pace of change in state and local marijuana laws, the need for independent research and analysis of drug laws and their enforcement is paramount to provide advocates, policymakers and community leaders with information and evidence needed for effective policies. One fundamental goal for our center is to provide sophisticated and objective analysis that contextualizes today’s problems and challenges with the history of drug enforcement and drug policy reform in the United States. Our center aspires to provide a venue for thoughtful discussion and critical engagement with these issues.”
Professor Douglas A. Berman, Executive Director, Drug Enforcement and Policy Center
As of October 2020, eleven states and the District of Columbia have undergone a transition from medical to adult-use marijuana regimes navigating the creation of a new industry within a complex and incongruous legal framework. The collective experience of these states has created a wealth of lessons for other states that might legalize adult-use marijuana in the future. Yet not much has been written about the process of transition and how states managed the creation and implementation of the regulatory framework for an emerging industry. This report, which draws on interviews with current and former government officials, aims to fill this gap by documenting lessons learned and decision-making behind the policies that shaped the recreational landscape in four states: Colorado, Michigan, Nevada, and Oregon. The purpose of this research is to provide actionable and concrete advice to states that are transitioning, or are planning for a transition, from a medical marijuana regime to an adult-use or recreational framework. The report highlights major decision points states face in their transitions and the pros and cons of each choice, lessons learned gathered from the participants in our study, and a short discussion of major challenges each state had to face with their respective programs.