As it enters its eighth month, Colorado's implementation of the first-in-the-nation experiment in legal, recreational marijuana has so far been a success, Brookings Institution fellow John Hudak concludes in a new report quoted by the Washington Post. The rollout of Colorado's legal marijuana policy, which created a new industry virtually overnight, was a “largely successful” contrast to dysfunction at the federal level, Hudak writes, based on interviews with local officials, regulators, business owners and others.
“That was the most surprising, I think—how mature opponents were and how willing to work with the other side they were—in at least a national political environment where that's unheard of,” he said. Hudak notes that the report isn't a judgment on whether the policy itself is a good one. A government can implement a bad policy well or a good one poorly, he notes. Colorado did something no other had done before and it did it well. To critics of the policy, that's besides the point. “Do Colorado bureaucrats know how to account for the tax revenue? Great, I'm not as concerned about that,” says Kevin Sabet, whose group Smart Approaches to Marijuana advocates for a middle-ground approach between legalization and harsh criminalization. Sabet, a former senior adviser at the Obama White House's Office of National Drug Control Policy, says what matters are the law’s effects.