WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas
22 May 2013 | Video

Legal Marijuana in Colorado and Washington: Implementation & Implications of the New State Laws

Last November, Colorado and Washington voters approved ballot initiatives to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana—decisions that put them at odds with federal law, which continues to ban marijuana. The states are moving ahead with implementation of their unprecedented laws in the face of uncertainty regarding the response of the federal government.

On May 21, 2013, an expert panel with in-depth knowledge of the Colorado and Washington initiatives discussed how the new laws are being implemented and the key challenges in creating regulatory regimes for recreational marijuana even as the federal ban remains in place. Congressmen Jared Polis (D-Colorado) and Steve Cohen (D-Tennessee) also joined the discussion.


Jack Finlaw
Chief Legal Counsel, Office of Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper
Co-Chair, Governor’s Amendment 64 Implementation Task Force

Alison Holcomb
Drug Policy Director, ACLU of Washington State
Campaign Director, New Approach Washington (Initiative 502)

Mark A. R. Kleiman
Professor of Public Policy, UCLA
Visiting Fellow, National Institute of Justice


John Walsh
Senior Associate, WOLA

With commentary by Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) and Rep. Steven Cohen (D-TN). 

WOLA Senior Associate John Walsh recently released the the third installment of the WOLA/Brookings collaboration, “Q&A: Legal Marijuana in Colorado and Washington.” To read a full copy of this report, please click here.

Photo: Meg Nickman