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How Should State and Local Governments Respond to Illegal Retail Cannabis?
AEI
2024.02.01
This report explores policy and law enforcement alternatives for bringing legal order to the cannabis market. To do so, it draws a historical comparison between the modern day and the period beginning in 1933 after the end of the prohibition of alcohol. Prohibition began in 1918 and featured an extensive black market of bootleggers and speakeasies―similar to today’s illegal producers and retailers. Post-Prohibition, states and localities adopted a range of approaches that over time marginalized the illegal market.
This report explores applying such approaches to the cannabis market. It also explores the parallel between the cannabis market and the legal market for tobacco products. The approaches discussed below range from a crackdown on black-market cannabis to a sharp increase in the number of outlets for legal sale.