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Criminal Justice


Carolyn B. Dennis


U.S. states that facilitate the use of legal recreational cannabis face the threat of federal prosecution because cannabis remains illegal at the federal level. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to assess the perceived obstacles to the state-facilitated regulation and implementation of legal recreational cannabis. Collective action federalism theory provided the framework for the study. The data collection instrument was developed based on themes in the literature and was pilot tested to ensure accuracy. The final study included 22 participants who represented the cannabis industry in the United States. Descriptive coding and thematic analysis indicated that the federal government’s use of federal law to prevent financial institutions from conducting business with the marijuana industry is an obstacle. Other themes included obtaining an operations license from the state, transparent and child-resistant packaging with warning labels, youth access to marijuana, and tourist divergence of marijuana across state lines and into the black market are obstacles for state-facilitated legal recreational cannabis. Findings may provide information for practitioners who work in the development of cannabis policies. Findings may also aid policymakers and regulators who are considering legalizing recreational cannabis by providing insight into what to expect with the regulation and implementation process for the state legal use of recreational cannabis.

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