LEADERSHIP: Key Considerations for Developing Local Commercial Cannabis Regulation

Has your state voted to legalize cannabis for medical or recreational use? Here is a checklist to help communities develop their own policies. [PM Magazine, August 2019]

Aug 1, 2019 | ARTICLE

By Rebecca DeSantis

In this past mid-term election, cannabis was a hot button issue on many state and local ballots. Seven states1 voted on a total of 36 ballot measures, ranging from taxing medical cannabis to legalizing the use and possession of recreational commercial cannabis. This doesn’t include the large number of local cannabis initiatives that were on the ballot in many states.

The results on election night show some movement in cannabis legalization, possibly reflecting the 64 percent of Americans2 who say marijuana should be made legal, according to a recent Gallup poll.

Voters in two states, Missouri3 and Utah4 , voted to legalize medical cannabis. Michigan5 became the first state in the Midwest to legalize cannabis for adult recreational use. Ohio6 and Wisconsin7 voters approved a number of local initiatives around decriminalization and cannabis reform.

If recent history is a precedent, there is a chance that there may be more movement in cannabis legalization in the future. For now, though, in states that voted to change existing cannabis policy, local governments are facing decisions around cannabis regulation.

This can be a challenging task without the right tools and resources. Based on its recent research report, Local Impacts of Commercial Cannabis,8 ICMA has developed a checklist for local government leaders who may be developing commercial cannabis regulations. This checklist includes key considerations that local governments can use to develop their own policies.

The recommendations fall under four key considerations:

  • Assess the context for your decisions.
  • Facilitate leadership, coordination, and communication.
  • Plan for extensive community engagement.
  • Regularly monitor indicators and review your regulations.

Download the checklist from the ICMA website: http://bit.ly/cannabis-checklist.

Rebecca DeSantis is content and engagement coordinator, ICMA, Washington, D.C. (rdesantis@icma.org).




1  https://www.forbes.com/sites/tomangell/2018/10/03/voters-in-seven-states...

2  https://news.gallup.com/poll/221018/record-high-support-legalizing-marij...

3  https://www.forbes.com/sites/tomangell/2018/11/06/missouri-votes-to-lega...

4  http://www.governing.com/topics/health-human-services/Utah-Will-Soon-Hav...

5  https://www.forbes.com/sites/tomangell/2018/11/07/marijuana-won-the-midt...

6  https://www.marijuanamoment.net/five-ohio-cities-decriminalize-marijuana/

7  https://www.marijuanamoment.net/wisconsin-voters-widely-embrace-marijuan...

8  http://bit.ly/ICMA-Cannabis-Report