By Beau Kilmer for El Daily Post. Q: Recreational marijuana markets arrived in the United States after a relatively long experience with medical marijuana. Does it make sense to have an intermediate stage between prohibition and legalization for recreational purposes?
A: There are a number of supply options between marijuana prohibition and for-profit commercial legalization (see figure below from Options and Issues Regarding Marijuana Legalization). Since removing prohibition and allowing large-scale production and retail sales is new, no one knows how this is going to play out. One of the concerns in the U.S. is that jurisdictions moving to the commercial model may eventually decide that they would like to try something else; however, it will be hard to make changes with a growing industry and powerful lobbyists.Jurisdictions could instead start with middle-ground options and give them a try before committing to the commercial model. In addition, policymakers may also want to consider including sunset clauses which would give them the ability to change course without getting locked into a particular regime.