Legalizing a market for cannabis for pleasure: Colorado, Washington, Uruguay and beyond

Robin Room
Addiction 2014, 109 (3): 345-51
Colorado, Washington state and Uruguay are currently designing legal non-medical markets for cannabis. These clearly contravene the 1961 and 1988 drug conventions; options for what may happen next are discussed. The current provisions in the three regulatory schemes are summarized. From a public health perspective, the emphasis should be on holding down consumption with regulatory measures, but the public health agenda does not seem to be a strong consideration in the implementation of the US schemes, and they are paying little attention to what can be learned from the history of alcohol and tobacco regulation. While alternative paths to a cannabis market under the conventions are noted, the legalization initiatives underline the need to revise the drug conventions, making prohibition of domestic markets an optional matter. Such changes would also ease the path for including alcohol under the conventions, which would be an important step forward in global health.

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