Press release: Groundbreaking guide explains ‘How to Regulate Cannabis’

For immediate release

As Uruguay prepares to legalise and regulate cannabis, advisers publish guide showing how other countries can follow suit

Transform Drug Policy Foundation will launch its latest publication, 'How to Regulate Cannabis: A Practical Guide', at the House of Commons on Tuesday 10 December at 6.15pm.

Cannabis legalisation and regulation is now a reality:

  • Washington State and Colorado will open their first stores selling cannabis for recreational use in January
  • Spain's non-profit 'cannabis social clubs' have been operating for some years and the Netherlands has its longstanding cannabis 'coffee shops'
  • Uruguay is set to become the first country in the world to legalise and regulate cannabis from production through to retail sale, in a historic senate vote on 4 or 5 December
  • Transform worked with the Uruguayan Government in developing their state controlled market regulation model
  • The guide is published in print (and free online as a pdf) on 27 November, in advance of a 10 December launch in the UK House of Commons

The book is a guide to regulating legal markets for the non-medical use of cannabis. It is for policy makers, drug policy reform advocates and affected communities all over the world, who are witnessing the question change from, 'Should we maintain cannabis prohibition?' to 'How will legal regulation work in practice?'

It will help guide all those interested in cannabis policy through the key practical challenges to developing and implementing an effective regulation approach aimed at achieving the safer, healthier world we all wish to see.

Steve Rolles, Transform senior policy analyst and the book’s co-author, said:

"The cannabis regulation debate is now part of the political mainstream, with multiple jurisdictions at the city, state and country levels considering, developing and implementing a range of regulated market models for cannabis. With so many countries leading the way, it is likely that the rest of the world will follow within the next ten years."

"Transform, working with colleagues around the world, has produced this book to guide those engaged in cannabis policy through the key practical challenges involved in developing and implementing an effective regulation approach aimed at achieving the safer, healthier world we all wish to see. A world the so-called ‘war on drugs’ has conspicuously failed to deliver."

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, 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."


Notes for editors

A media briefing is available here (pdf)

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 aim to equip policy makers and reform advocates with the tools they need to fundamentally change our current approach to drugs and create a healthier, safer world.


UK launch

When: Tuesday 10 December, 18.15-19.30

Where: Committee Room 14, Houses of Parliament, (Enter via public entrance on Cromwell Green)

What: Event sponsored by Julian Huppert MP: Steve Rolles, co-author of the book and Transform Senior policy analyst; Professor David Nutt; and Baroness Molly Meacher will present, followed by a Q & A.


New Zealand launch

The book will also be launched in New Zealand on 27 November:

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


Steve Rolles, +44 (0)7980 213 943 (in New Zealand 25 Nov – 6 Dec)

Danny Kushlick, +44 (0)7970 174 747