Marijuana is the most widely used illegal drug in the world. Over the past couple of decades, several Western jurisdictions have seen reforms in, or changes to, the way cannabis use is being controlled, departing from traditional approaches of criminal prohibition that have dominated cannabis use control regimes for most of the twentieth century. While reform is stalled at the international level, the last decade has seen an acceleration of legislative and regulatory reforms at the local and national levels, with countries no longer willing to bear the human and financial costs of prohibitive policies. Furthermore, legalization models have been implemented in US states, Canada and Uruguay, and are being debated in a number of other countries. These models are providing the world with unique pilot programs from which to study and learn.

This book assembles an international who’s who of cannabis scholars who bring together the best available evidence and expertise to address questions such as: How should we evaluate the models of cannabis legalization as they have been implemented in several jurisdictions in the past few years? Which scenarios for future cannabis legalization have been developed elsewhere, and how similar/different are they from the models already implemented? What lessons from the successes and failures experienced with the regulation of other psychoactive substances (such as alcohol, tobacco, pharmaceuticals and “legal highs”) can be translated to the effective regulation of cannabis markets?

Legalizing Cannabis will appeal to anyone interested in public health policies and drug policy reform and offers relevant insights for stakeholders in any other country where academic, societal or political evaluations of current cannabis policies (and even broader: current drug policies) are a subject of debate.

chapter |8 pages


ByTom Decorte, Simon Lenton, Chris Wilkins

part I|122 pages

The new legal cannabis markets

chapter 1|28 pages

The uneven repeal of cannabis prohibition in the United States

ByBryce Pardo

chapter 2|23 pages

Practical lessons learned from the first years of the regulated recreational cannabis market in Colorado

ByTodd Subritzky, Simon Lenton, Simone Pettigrew

chapter 3|27 pages

Recreational marijuana legalization in Washington State

Benefits and harms
ByClayton Mosher, Scott Akins

chapter 4|27 pages

A century of cannabis control in Canada

A brief overview of history, context and policy frameworks from prohibition to legalization
ByBenedikt Fischer, Cayley Russell, Neil Boyd

chapter 5|15 pages


The first country to legalize cannabis
ByRosario Queirolo

part II|77 pages

General models of reform

chapter 6|21 pages

Cannabis decriminalization policies across the globe

ByNiamh Eastwood

chapter 7|26 pages

“More than just counting the plants”

Different home cannabis cultivation policies, cannabis supply contexts and approaches to their evaluation
ByVendula Belackova, Katinka van de Ven, Michaela Roubalova

chapter 8|28 pages

City-level policies of regulating recreational cannabis in Europe

From pilot projects to “local customization”?
ByTom Blickman, Catherine Sandwell

part III|74 pages

Lessons from alcohol, tobacco and legal highs

chapter 9|22 pages

Lessons learned from the alcohol regulation perspective

ByTim Stockwell, Norman Giesbrecht, Adam Sherk, Gerald Thomas, Kate Vallance, Ashley Wettlaufer

chapter 10|26 pages

Lessons from tobacco regulation for cannabis product regulation

ByCoral Gartner, Wayne Hall

chapter 11|24 pages

How not to legalize cannabis

Lessons from New Zealand’s experiment with regulating “legal highs”
ByMarta Rychert, Chris Wilkins

part IV|107 pages

Earlier innovations in cannabis law reform

chapter 12|22 pages

Coffeeshops in the Netherlands

Regulating the front door and the back door
ByDirk J. Korf

chapter 13|16 pages

Cannabis social clubs in Spain

Recent legal developments
ByXabier Araña, Òscar Parés

chapter 14|14 pages

Swiss cannabis policies

BySimon Anderfuhren-Biget, Frank Zobel, Cédric Heeb, Jean-Félix Savary

chapter 15|38 pages

The Australian experience and opportunities for cannabis law reform

ByCaitlin Elizabeth Hughes

chapter 16|15 pages

Cannabis policy reform

Jamaica’s experience
ByVicki J. Hanson

part V|36 pages

New cannabis legalization proposals

chapter 17|16 pages

The risks of cannabis industry funding of community and drug treatment services

Insights from gambling
ByChris Wilkins, Marta Rychert

chapter 18|18 pages

Insights for the design of Cannabis Social Club regulation

ByTom Decorte, Mafalda Pardal

chapter |11 pages


ByChris Wilkins, Simon Lenton, Tom Decorte