New Study Says States that Legalize Marijuana First Will Have Big Advantage Over States that Do So Later

A new study on alcohol prohibition in America suggests that states that legalize marijuana early on will have a major advantage over those who do so later.

A study published in the Journal of the Economic & Business History Society examined alcohol prohibition in the United States to see if there are any lessons that could be applied to marijuana legalization. The researchers looked at whether the first states to re-legalize alcohol sales after it was allowed again in 1933 saw advantages compared to states that did so in later years. They found that states who legalized alcohol sales first saw both short-term and long-term advantages to doing so that helped improve the health of the industry. They then extrapolated the lessons from this to suggest that states that legalize marijuana first will also see similar types of advantages.

“In the long run, states that legalize in the earliest stages of this staggered removal of the drug’s prohibition may enjoy an early-adopter advantage with respect to the production and sale of marijuana as they gain a foothold in what may soon become a national (or international) market for the product,” the researchers wrote.

This is probably not super surprising. Colorado legalized recreational marijuana sales first in the United States, and has topped over $1 billion in sales annually and is only eclipsed by California, a state with 30 million more residents, in terms of marijuana sales. 

The researchers noted that breweries that opened in the first states to legalize alcohol sales were more likely to survive than those who opened in later states. But the alcohol industry also became dominated by major corporate giants, where almost every beer made today is produced by only two or three companies. Could a similar type of situation arise with cannabis?

As they say, only time will tell.

(h/t Marijuana Moment)

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California may have been the first in the country to pioneer cannabis law reform, but the Golden State is still struggling to eliminate the black market and sell affordable, legal pot. In 1996, California voters passed Prop 215 to legalize medical marijuana. In the years immediately following its passage, medical cannabis was a small and largely unregulated affair.

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