Medical Marijuana in Colorado and the Future of Marijuana Regulation in the United States
21 Pages Posted: 3 Apr 2012 Last revised: 23 Aug 2013
Date Written: January 7, 2013
My contribution to this special issue will describe the phenomenon of Colorado's medical marijuana industry and speculate about what Colorado can tell us about the future of marijuana regulation in the United States. I have had an opportunity to interview more than twenty players in this industry-including law enforcement officials, activists, lawyers, and dispensary owners-over the last year and to speak informally with a great many more. Based on these discussions and other research that I have done on the emergent industry in my state, this article describes how the industry has grown in Colorado since 2008, puts this transformative change into perspective, and then draws some tentative conclusions about the future of drug policy in the United States, the appropriate federal-state balance in this area, and the relationship between criminal laws and broader societal norms.
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