Policy Designs for Cannabis Legalization

Starting with the Eight Ps

Published in: The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, v. 40, no. 4, July 2014, p. 259-261

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2014

by Beau Kilmer

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The cannabis policy landscape is changing rapidly. In November 2012 voters in Colorado and Washington State passed ballot initiatives to remove the prohibition on the commercial production, distribution, and possession of cannabis. This paper does not address the question of whether cannabis should be legal; it instead focuses on the design considerations confronting jurisdictions that are pondering a change in cannabis policy. Indeed, whether or not cannabis legalization is net positive or negative for public health and public safety largely depends on regulatory decisions and how they are implemented. This essay presents eight of these design choices which all conveniently begin with the letter ''P'': production, profit motive, promotion, prevention, potency, purity, price, and permanency.

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