As Californians looks set to vote for legalisation, Transform publishes updated ‘How to regulate cannabis’ guide


News Release


3 November 2016

If Californians vote to legalise next week it will usher in the end of global cannabis prohibition

To coincide with the momentous reform, Transform publishes updated ‘How to’ guide, to encourage UK and global move to regulation

On the 8th November, California looks set to join 4 other US states, D.C., and several countries that have already legalised and regulated cannabis. This move, by the world’s 8th largest economy, will in all likelihood create an unstoppable domino effect that ends the global prohibition of the world’s most widely used illicit drug.


To coincide with this event, Transform Drug Policy Foundation is launching the updated second edition of its book, 'How to Regulate Cannabis: A Practical Guide'. The new book builds on Transform’s work advising governments around the world now asking how to legalise and regulate cannabis, to achieve our shared goals of protecting the vulnerable and undermining organised crime.


Steve Rolles, Transform senior policy analyst and the book’s co-author, said: “This is the beginning of the end of cannabis prohibition. Polls show that Californians are highly likely to repeal this bad law so that their government takes control of cannabis supply from gangsters. They recognise that the so-called ‘war on drugs’ has conspicuously failed to protect young people, promote health or reduce crime. From Canada to Uruguay, and from Jamaica to Spain, more and more jurisdictions are regulating cannabis. But California’s size makes it the real game-changer. It will inevitably lead to the end of both US federal prohibition, and the international prohibition on cannabis - with the UK following suit sooner rather than later."



"Cannabis regulation has moved from theory to reality. Where prohibition has massively increased harm, regulation will reduce it. We have an opportunity to get it right, and Transform has produced this book to guide policymakers to implement responsible regulation aimed at promoting health and safety. California’s 2016 ballot will go down as a watershed moment in the history of legalisation."


Professor David Nutt, Edmond J. Safra professor of neuropsychopharmacology, Imperial College London, said: "This guide is essential reading for policy makers around the globe who know that cannabis prohibition has failed. In comprehensive detail, it explores pragmatic, evidence-based approaches to regulating the world’s most widely used illicit drug."


Representative Roger Goodman, Washington State Legislature, Former Chair of the House Public Safety Committee (responsible for cannabis regulation), said: "With this new guide, Transform continues to be at the cutting edge of drug policy reform. This work sets ideology aside, focusing instead on the essential practical task of developing a workable regulatory framework for cannabis as an alternative to the failed prohibition model."




Steve Rolles Transform,  +44 (0)7980 213 943

Martin Powell  Transform, +44 (0)7875 679 301



The Drug Policy Alliance is the leading US organisation campaigning for cannabis legalisation

Ethan Nadelmann, Director, Drug Policy Alliance, +1 (212) 613 8020

Lynne Lyman, California Director, Drug Policy Alliance, +1 (213) 226-6424


Notes for editors

  1. ‘How to Regulate Cannabis: A Practical Guide 2nd Edition’ will be launched on 4th November 2016. Hard copies available on request and free online as a pdf

  2. California, Massachusetts, Maine, Nevada and Arizona all vote on the 8th November in ballot initiatives intended to legalise production and sale of cannabis for non-medical (recreational) use. Polls put the ‘yes’ vote ahead in California

  3. Washington State, Colorado, Oregon and Alaska already have stores selling cannabis for non-medical use

  • Spain’s non-profit ‘cannabis social clubs’ have been operating for some years and the Netherlands has its longstanding cannabis ‘coffee shops’

  • Uruguay and Canada are preparing regulations for non-medical cannabis production and sale, to begin in 2017

  1. Transform Drug Policy Foundation is an international, charitable think tank with staff in the UK and Mexico. We are working to get drugs under control by advocating for strict regulation of all aspects of the drug trade. We equip policymakers and reform advocates with the tools they need to fundamentally change our current approach to drugs and create a healthier, safer world, including advising several governments as they prepare to regulate cannabis.

Transform’s previous book on regulating drugs, published in 2009, 'After the War on Drugs: Blueprint for Regulation' has been translated into four languages and downloaded over a million times