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Cannabis Policy Taxonomy

As a first step in the expansion into legal data analysis of Recreational Use of Cannabis, APIS staff developed the Cannabis Policy Taxonomy (CPT). The CPT provides an inventory and taxonomy of cannabis policies, and is organized in policy areas under nine broad categories.

Researchers, especially those new to the cannabis policy field, can examine the CPT to gain an appreciation of the nature and scope of cannabis policies and the specific issues these policies address.


1.1.      Agency with authority to regulate
1.1.1.      Placement of agency in administrative structure
1.1.2.      Makeup of agency
1.1.3.      Extent of agency authority
1.2.      Cultivation and Distribution
1.2.1.      Cultivation            Who may cultivate                  Commercial                  Non-commercial            Limitation of amount                  Commercial                  Non-commercial            Potency limits            Location of cultivation sites
1.2.2.      Product testing, specification and certification            Purity            Potency            Identification            Tracking and tracing requirements
1.2.3.      Packaging requirements
1.2.4.      Warning labels and other labeling requirements
1.2.5.      Methods of distribution            Vertical integration            Three-tier system            Government involvement            Private individuals                  Grow-and-give systems                  Clubs                  Non-profit collectives
1.2.6.      Other issues prior to retail sale
1.3.      Licensing of Retail Sales Outlets
1.3.1.      Retail outlets for on-premises consumption            Permitted / prohibited            Who may sell
1.3.2.      Retail outlets for off-premises consumption            Permitted / prohibited            Who may sell
1.3.3.      Density and location of retail outlets
1.3.4.      Condition of premises
1.3.5.      Other retail outlet issues
1.4.      Retail Sales Transactions
1.4.1.      Product types permitted            Herbal            Edibles            Drinkables            Concentrates            Other types
1.4.2.      Pre-approval of products
1.4.3.      When / how retail transactions may occur            Days / hours of sale            Retail transaction limits
1.4.4.      Who may purchase            Age            Residency
1.4.5.      Monitoring sales transactions            Responsible cannabis sales/service training            Record-keeping requirements
1.4.6.      Packaging            Child-proof packaging            Tamper-proof or tamper-evident packaging            Serving size            THC content or other labeling requirements            Product-specific requirements
1.4.7.      Pre-approval of packaging and labeling
1.4.8.      Civil liability for damages resulting from unlawful sales
1.4.9.      Other retail transactions issues
1.5.      Local Authority
1.5.1.      Cultivation and distribution            Local option (“opt-out”)            Local control through licensing or zoning
1.5.2.      Retail outlets            Local option (“opt-out”)            Local control through licensing or zoning
1.5.3.      Other issues relating to local authority
2.1.      Taxation and Fees
2.1.1.      Specific Excise Tax            Product taxes                  Where levied (wholesale, retail; on-premises, off-premises)                  Base                        Weight / volume                        Actual THC content                        Reported THC content                  Rate            Producer taxes                  Where levied (wholesale, retail; on-premises, off-premises)                  Base                        Acreage / square footage                        Number of plants                        Number of growing cycles                        Electricity use                  Rate
2.1.2.      Ad Valorem Excise Tax            Where levied (wholesale, retail; on-premises, off-premises)            Base            Rate
2.1.3.      Sales Tax            Applied / not applied                  Special rate for herbal, edible, concentrates, etc.
2.1.4.      Local taxes            Permitted / prohibited            State restrictions on application
2.1.5.      Other taxation issues
2.1.6.      Fees            Business fees                  Producer level                  Distributor level                  Retail level            Consumer fees            Other fees and charges
2.2.      Pricing
2.2.1.      Retail price controls            On-premises                  Happy hours                  Unlimited product for fixed price or period                  Increased volume without increase in price                  Free product / samples                  Promotional discounts, coupons                  Minimum retail price            Off-premises                  Increased volume without increase in price                  Free product / samples                  Promotional discounts, coupons                  Minimum retail price
2.2.2.      Wholesale price controls            Volume discounts            Minimum markup / maximum discount            Retailer credit
2.2.3.      Other pricing issues
3.1.      Restrictions on Advertising Content
3.2.      Restrictions on Advertising Placement
3.2.1.      Broadcast
3.2.2.      Print
3.2.3.      Billboard
3.2.4.      Social media
3.2.5.      Online
3.2.6.      Point of sale
3.3.      Other Advertising, Marketing and Mass Media Issues
4.1.      Transportation and Vehicle Operation
4.1.1.      Adult DUID – non-commercial cars, trucks, and motorcycles            Testing            Standards for impairment
4.1.2.      Adult DUID - other non-commercial vehicles (bicycles, etc.)
4.1.3.      Youth DUID – non-commercial cars, trucks, and motorcycles            Testing            Standards for impairment
4.1.4.      Youth DUID - other non-commercial vehicles (bicycles, etc.)
4.1.5.      DUID - commercial cars and trucks (excluding common carriers)
4.1.6.      DUID - common carriers
4.1.7.      DUID - other commercial vehicles
4.1.8.      Cannabis use while operating a vehicle
4.1.9.      Open container prohibition
4.1.10.    Other cannabis and transportation issues
4.2.      Violence and General Crime
4.2.1.      Crimes against persons
4.2.2.      Property crimes and other nonviolent crimes
4.3.      Underage Persons
4.3.1.      Possession, consumption, and purchase by underage persons            Prohibitions            Exceptions            Evidentiary issues
4.3.2.      Furnishing to underage persons            Prohibitions            Exceptions            Evidentiary issues
4.3.3.      Age of employees
4.3.4.      Use of false ID
4.3.5.      Use / lose penalties
4.3.6.      Hosting underage parties
4.3.7.      Other underage issues
4.4.      Cannabis-Specific Offenses (excluding underage offenses)
4.4.1.      Where cannabis consumed
4.4.2.      Possession limits
4.4.3.      Public impairment
4.4.4.      Unlawful purchase, possession, or consumption of cannabis
4.4.5.      Unlawful furnishing of cannabis
4.4.6.      Other cannabis-specific offenses
4.5.      Other Public Safety Issues
4.5.1.      Other public safety issues not specified above
5.1.      Facilities, Services, and Programs
5.1.1.      Hospitals and hospital-based services and programs
5.1.2.      Residential facilities, services, and programs
5.1.3.      Outpatient treatment facilities, services, and programs
5.1.4.      Other health care and related facilities, services, and programs
5.2.      Providers
5.2.1.      Physicians
5.2.2.      Licensed mental health and human services providers
5.2.3.      Certified drug treatment providers
5.2.4.      Other non-physician health care providers and staff
5.3.      Financing and Insurance
5.3.1.      Medicare
5.3.2.      Medicaid
5.3.3.      Other public health care financing programs
5.3.4.      Health insurance coverage and mandates
5.3.5.      Denial of health insurance coverage
5.3.6.      Private health insurance and other health care financing issues
5.4.      Medicinal Use of Cannabis
5.4.1.      Diagnosis and prescriptions / recommendations            Qualifying diseases and symptoms            Who may prescribe or recommend            Prior exam / medical history review requirements            Minimum duration of disease            Diagnostic test requirements            Independent second physician confirmation of diagnosis            Documentation of need (alternative medications ineffective)            Certification requirements
5.4.2.      Medical professional requirements            Qualification            Licensing            Conflicts of interest            Record-keeping requirements
5.4.3.      Patient requirements and protections            Who may use for medicinal purposes                  Age                  Residency                  ID card requirements            Restrictions on amount possessed            Cultivation of cannabis by patient            Anti-discrimination provisions            Subsidy provisions (e.g., for low income or homeless patients)
5.4.4.      Dispensary requirements (see Retail Sales sections, above, for additional topics)            Verification of ID / registry cards            Interstate reciprocity
5.4.5.      Caregiver requirements and protections            Qualification of caregivers                  Age                  Relationship to patient                  Medical professional            Restrictions on number of patients            Cultivation of cannabis by caregivers            Immunity from arrest
5.4.6.      Insurance provisions            Requirements / exemptions for public health insurance providers            Requirements / exemptions for private health insurance providers
5.4.7.      Other medicinal use issues
5.5.      Other Issues Related to Health Care
5.5.1.      Health care service delivery system organization and administration
5.5.2.      Medical and other health-related records
5.5.3.      Screening, assessment, and diagnosis
5.5.4.      Coerced treatment for substance use disorders
5.5.5.      Related health conditions not elsewhere included
5.5.6.      Other issues related to health care
6.1.      Primary and Secondary Schools
6.2.      Colleges and Universities
6.3.      Public Information and Education
6.4.      Other Education Issues
7.      PUBLIC SERVICES, FUNCTIONS, AND PROGRAMS (not elsewhere categorized)
7.1.      Public Housing
7.2.      Child Protection
7.3.      Welfare, Public Assistance, and Income Maintenance
7.4.      Unemployment and Worker's Disability Compensation
7.5.      Corrections
7.6.      Public Lands and Facilities
7.7.      Other Public Services, Functions, and Programs
8.1.      Cannabis in the Workplace
8.1.1.      Use while on duty
8.1.2.      Use while off duty
8.1.3.      Separate rules for medical users
8.1.4.      Anti-discrimination provisions
8.2.      Workplace Drug Testing
8.2.1.      Random
8.2.2.      Regularly-scheduled
8.2.3.      Methods and standards
8.2.4.      Penalties
8.3.      Employee Assistant Programs (EAPs)
8.4.      Profession and Occupation-Specific Issues
8.4.1.      Safety-sensitive jobs
8.5.      Other Employment and Workplace Issues
9.      OTHER CANNABIS POLICY AREAS (not otherwise categorized)
9.1.      Cannabis and Pregnancy
9.2.      Social Host (civil liability for damages resulting from improper furnishing)
9.3.      Death Certificates and Coroner's Reports
9.4.      Other Policy Areas
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism National Institutes of Health Department of Health and Human Services USA.gov - Government Made Easy