Regulating Marijuana in California

On April 7, 2016, the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), released a report titled "Regulating Marijuana in California." Authored by Patrick Murphy and John Carnevale, the report concludes that, if California legalizes recreational marijuana, the state should develop a single highly regulated marijuana market-- for medical and recreational uses. The report analyzes the regulatory approaches taken by Washington and Colorado-- the first two states to legalize recreational marijuana-- to help California learn from their experiences. 

The report does not address the wisdom of marijuana legalization but looks at how to design regulations that reconcile important but differing policy goals, including: 

  • Limiting the impact of the illegal market,
  • Reducing harm to public health and safety, and 
  • Raising Revenue 

The report recommends a regulatory structure that would tightly document and control cultivation, production, processing, and sale of legal marijuana. This approach would

  • Limit the number of licenses, restrict the scale of production, and impose strict testing requirements 
  • Limit use to those age 21 and older, impose limits on the quantities sold,  limit sales to stores specifically established for that purpose. and impose strict penalties for sales to minors
  • Ensure consistent and effective enforcement of drugged driving laws
  • Include a strong and transparent reporting system to collect data on the marijuana market and evaluate the consequences of use

Download the full PDF from the PPIC: Regulating Marijuana in California

PPIC is dedicated to informing and improving public policy in California through independent, objective, nonpartisan research on major economic, social, and political issues. The institute was established in 1994 with an endowment from William R. Hewlett. PPIC does not take or support positions on any ballot measure or on any local, state, or federal legislation, nor does it endorse, support, or oppose any political parties or candidates for public office.


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