A multi-source investigation of issues arising from the implementation and evolution of a commercial, non-medical marijuana market in Colorado - PhD Project

  • Research program: Harm reduction policy and strategies
  • Project status: Completed
  • Start date: July 2015
  • Expected end date: December 2019
  • Completion date: January 2020
  • Funded by:
  • Lead organisation:

For several decades the cultivation, sale and use of recreational cannabis has been prohibited by law in most countries. Recently however under ballot initiatives, four states in the US have legalised commercial, non-medical marijuana markets. Several other states will initiate similar ballot measures attached to the 2016 election that will also appoint a new President. In addition, more than 20 states now allow medical marijuana to treat a range of ailments. Other countries, notably Canada, may soon legalise a recreational cannabis market in some form, while in Australia a bill allowing the development of medicines from marijuana has recently passed into law. Uruguay is awaiting full implementation after passing a state run model for legal recreational cannabis into law over a year ago.

As the first jurisdiction to implement “seed to sale” legislation for recreational use in 2014, Colorado is an important model to begin investigating early consequences of specific policy choices as the evidence base starts to accrue and other jurisdictions consider their own legislation. In an environment where things are changing rapidly and scientific evidence on the impact of the changes is only starting to emerge, this study aims to identify and explore a range of related issues through review of regulations, analysis of mass and niche media coverage, and interviews with associated stakeholders from industry, public health and policy makers.

Professor Simon Lenton
Tel: 61 (0)8 9266 1603
View profile

Professor Simone Pettigrew
Tel: 61 (0)2 8052 4624
View profile

Name & Contact Details Role Research Program Location

Lenton, S. (2021). Regulating cannabis retail for public health over private profit: Commentary on Wilkins & Rychert: Assessing New Zealand’s Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill: Prospects and Challenges. Addiction, 116, (2), pp. 233-5. doi:10.1111/add.15255 [RJ1631] View web page

Subritzky, T., Lenton, S. and Pettigrew, S. (2020). Practical lessons learned from the first years of the regulated recreational cannabis market in Colorado. In Decorte, T., Lenton, S. and Wilkins, C. (eds.) Legalizing cannabis: Experiences, lessons and scenarios. Routledge, London. ISBN: 9780429427794 doi:10.4324/9780429427794-4 [CH219] View web page

Subritzky, T., Lenton, S. and Pettigrew, S. (2019). Cannabis and youth protection in Colorado's commercial adult-use market: A qualitative investigation. International Journal of Drug Policy, 74, pp. 116-126. doi:10.1016/j.drugpo.2019.09.007 [RJ1487] View web page

Lenton, S. and Subritzky, T. (2017). On sentinel samples, sales data and potency. Commentary on Kilmer & Pacula: Greening the Black Market. Addiction, 112, (7), pp. 1137-1138. doi:10.1111/add.13756 [RJ1292] View web page

Subritzky, T., Pettigrew, S. and Lenton, S. (2017). Into the void: regulating pesticide use in Colorado’s commercial cannabis markets. International Journal of Drug Policy, 42, pp. 86-96. doi:10.1016/j.drugpo.2017.01.014 [RJ1252] View web page

Subritzky, T., Lenton, S. and Pettigrew, S. (2016). Legal cannabis industry adopting strategies of the tobacco industry. Drug and Alcohol Review, 35, (5), pp. 511-513. doi:10.1111/dar.12459 [RJ1240] View web page

Subritzky, T., Pettigrew, S. and Lenton, S. (2016). Issues in the implementation and evolution of the commercial recreational marijuana market in Colorado. International Journal of Drug Policy, 27, pp. 1-12. doi:10.1016/j.drugpo.2015.12.001 [RJ1125] View web page