Policy Pitfalls and Challenges in Cannabis Regulation: Lessons from Colorado

  • Ned CalongeEmail author
Brief Report


Since legalization of recreational marijuana use in 2012, Colorado has been a site of regulatory experimentation to support commercial sales. The path to legal recreational use began with a series of policy events that expanded the state’s medical marijuana program to include the creation of dispensaries and significantly increase the number of registered users. Voters convincingly passed a constitutional amendment that permitted commercial sale of recreational marijuana, and the state has created a regulatory model, based on a private business model, to address potential negative impacts. Colorado has used state- and local-level licensing, statues, and regulations to address regulatory challenges regarding product potency, cannabis edibles, worksite and worker issues, impaired driving, commercial growing operations, locations of outlets and sites of use, and other policy issues. Jurisdictions considering recreational legalizations should consider a “harm reduction” approach to regulation that is responsive to addressing evolving adverse effects and addresses child safety, traffic safety, cannabis product safety, work and worksite safety, and other aspects of the business model in order to provide a careful approach to recreational use.


Cannabis Marijuana regulation Colorado 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

The article is in compliance with the protection of all human and animal rights.

Conflict of Interest

The author declares that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Family Medicine, The Colorado TrustUniversity of Colorado School of MedicineDenverUSA

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