William Garriott

Grant Type

Post PhD Research Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Drake U.

Grant number

Gr. 9459

Approve Date

April 25, 2017

Project Title

Garriott, Dr. William Campbell, III, Drake U., Des Moines, IA - To aid research on 'Commercializing Cannabis: Marijuana Legalization in the Shadow of the Carceral State'

Preliminary abstract: For the past four decades, the US-led War on Drugs has been the reigning paradigm of drug policy throughout the world. This paradigm is defined by a logic of punitive prohibitionism, which uses the force of law to control supplies and discourage use. This paradigm has shaped the global circulation of drugs, as well as drug markets and users. Moreover, it has turned these drugs, markets, and users into sites and instruments of governance in their own right: the material and means through which broader governmental projects–ranging from public health allocation to military intervention–have been articulated and pursued. But in Colorado, as well as a handful of other US states, a new paradigm is emerging. This paradigm uses commercial markets, rather than punitive prohibitionism, to govern the circulation of drugs and users. Since January 1, 2014, a legal market in recreational marijuana has been operating in Colorado. At the center of this market is a new industry: the retail marijuana industry. This industry is at the center of the Colorado’s drug policy change. It was created by the policy, but is also tasked with its implementation. This is due to the fact that Colorado’s policy involves commercialization, not just legalization. Given this, this project asks: How is the reliance on commercialization shaping marijuana legalization in Colorado? What is the impact of this approach on US drug policy more generally, particularly the identities, institutions, and discourses it sustains? And, how is this new approach to marijuana implicated in the pursuit of other governmental projects, such as education, economic growth, and healthcare? Proceeding in this way, this project will show how the commercialization of marijuana in Colorado does not simply mark a shift in one state’s drug policy, but is part of a broader reconfiguration of drugs as a site and instrument of governance in the US and beyond.