SFI External Professor Aaron Clauset and co-author Joel Warner consider how mathematical models might forecast the spread of state and national social policies, such as those legalizing marijuana.  

The article asks whether the U.S. as a whole stands to follow Colorado and Washington in legalizing recreational marijuana, or whether the two states will become isolated destinations for recreational drug use, like Las Vegas and Atlantic City are for gambling.

Using gay marriage as an analogous social issue, the authors apply that policy's S-shaped adoption curve to forecast that the federal government is likely to take a stance on recreational marijuana by the year 2025 after some 30 individual states have legalized it.

Read the article in Pacific Standard (October 27, 2014)