Two economists take readers on a tour of the economics of legal and illegal weed, showing where cannabis regulation has gone wrong and how it could do better.
Cannabis "legalization" hasn't lived up to the hype. Across North America, investors are reeling, tax collections are below projections, and people are pointing fingers. On the business side, companies have shut down, farms have failed, workers have lost their jobs, and consumers face high prices. Why has legal weed failed to deliver on many of its promises? Can Legal Weed Win? takes on the euphoric claims with straight dope and a full dose of economic reality.
This book delivers the unadulterated facts about the new legal segment of one of the world's oldest industries. In witty, accessible prose, economists Robin Goldstein and Daniel Sumner take readers on a whirlwind tour of the economic past, present, and future of legal and illegal weed. Drawing upon reams of data and their own experience working with California cannabis regulators since 2016, Goldstein and Sumner explain why many cannabis businesses and some aspects of legalization fail to measure up, while others occasionally get it right. Their stories stretch from before America's first medical weed dispensaries opened in 1996 through the short-term boom in legal consumption that happened during COVID-19 lockdowns. Can Legal Weed Win? is packed with unexpected insights about how cannabis markets can thrive, how regulators get the laws right or wrong, and what might happen to legal and illegal markets going forward.