How High

Differences in the Developments of Cannabis Markets in Two Legalized States

Published in: International Journal of Drug Policy, Volume 75 (January 2020). doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2019.102611

Posted on RAND.org on April 13, 2021

by Caislin Firth, Steven Davenport, Rosanna Smart, Julia A. Dilley

Read More

Access further information on this document at International Journal of Drug Policy

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

With legal retail cannabis businesses now operational in seven states, market data are valuable for monitoring population consumption patterns. Strong evidence from studies of alcohol and tobacco markets indicate retail outlet access and density, lower prices, and availability of higher-potency products likely contribute to increases in consumption, and potentially associated harms (Berg, Henriksen, Cavazos-Rehg, Haardoerfer & Freisthler, 2018; Community Preventive Services Task Force, 2015, 2017). However, to date, Washington, one of the first two states to legalize adult use and began retail sales of cannabis in July 2014, is the only state that has published trends in cannabis sales, types of products sold, and the potency of products (Smart, Caulkins, Kilmer, Davenport & Midgette, 2017). While this has allowed us to learn a lot about the evolution of the legal cannabis market in Washington, we do not yet know whether Washington's experience translates to other legalized states. This paper is the first to examine cannabis market data from Washington alongside that from the state's southern neighbor, Oregon—two states that are similar in regard to legalizing retail sales of cannabis but differ in terms of their regulatory frameworks (e.g., taxation, product restrictions). Differences in the states' regulations of the production, processing, and sale of cannabis (Drug Policy Alliance, 2018) have implications for the development of their cannabis markets and population health outcomes.

Research conducted by

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.