In November 2012, Colorado voters decided to experiment with marijuana, passing a constitutional amendment legalizing recreational cannabis. It was a bold move, but it also required quick, bold, and unprecedented action on the part of the state government to implement the policy. Colorado needed to set up a legal, regulatory, and tax system so that product would be available in dispensaries by January 1, 2014. As part of an examination of Colorado’s implementation and roll out, Brookings’ John Hudak spent a week in Denver interviewing elected officials, regulators, industry officials, and others playing a variety of roles and including supporters and opponents of legalization policy.
Hudak reports that the state of Colorado has largely succeeded in rolling out a legal marijuana system, and its early implementation efforts have been impressive. This report details what has been successful, how Colorado has achieved an effective roll out, and what challenges remain.