Ph.D. Candidate Alex Kinney Awarded SBS Summer Dissertation Fellowship

March 20, 2020

School of Sociology Ph.D. Candidate Alex Kinney was awarded an SBS summer dissertation fellowship

This project explores the dynamics of commercial cannabis as it moves towards a fully legal market. Specifically, I focus on how cannabis professionals manage the unclear and contradictory laws structuring the cannabis industry. Analyses of both interview and survey data reveals that cannabis professionals are relying on temporary business routines, methods of organizing the labor process, and strategies managing surveillance that allow them to stay both compliant and solvent. Collectively, these can be considered "provisional institutions" that are structuring the commercial cannabis market in the United States, while pushing state governments to revise their laws to promote a favorable industrial environment. These findings have important theoretical implications for understanding how emerging markets manage legal uncertainty in the process of maturing, and offer a key explanation for how commercial cannabis continues to expand despite ongoing Federal criminalization.