In the blink of an eye, global debates about cannabis regulation have shifted from “whether” to “how.” In 2014, Uruguay became the first nation to explicitly regulate cannabis from seed to sale. Its preferred strategy? State-regulated production, cannabis clubs, and personal growing. Meanwhile, four U.S. states and the District of Columbia have moved ahead with legal regulation, Colorado and Washington being the first, and the federal government seems unlikely to intervene. More states, possibly even California, look set to follow. Likewise, in the rest of the world, there are a number of gray-area regulatory systems, including in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Spain. All offer insights into how the United States—and other countries—might tackle the “how.”
THE AMERICAN MODEL
In 2015, researchers at RAND produced an exhaustive study on cannabis legalization. The core insight was that “legalization is not simply a binary choice between making the production, sale, and possession
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