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Thinking Infrastructure and the Organization of Markets: The Creation of a Legal Market for Cannabis in Colorado

Thinking Infrastructures

ISBN: 978-1-78769-558-0, eISBN: 978-1-78769-557-3

Publication date: 7 August 2019


This chapter explores the ways in which a large-scale accounting system, known as Marijuana Enforcement Tracking Reporting and Compliance, contributes to the construction and organization of a new market for recreational cannabis in the US state of Colorado. Mobilizing the theoretical lenses provided by the literature on market devices, on the one hand, and infrastructure, on the other hand, the authors identify and unpack a changing relationship between accounting and state control through which accounting and markets unfold. The authors describe this movement in terms of a distinction between knowing devices and thinking infrastructures. In the former, the authors show that regulators and other authorities perform the market by making it legible for the purpose of intervention, taxation and control. In the latter, thinking infrastructures, an ecology of interacting devices is made and remade by a variety of intermediaries, disclosing the boundaries and possibilities of the market, and constituting both opportunities for innovation and domination through “protocol.”




The helpful comments from Martin Kornberger and Geoffrey Bowker and participants at seminars held at the University of Edinburgh Business School (NPS seminar) and at the London School of Economics are gratefully acknowledged. The authors also would like to thank interview partners for their time and cooperation.


Pflueger, D., Palermo, T. and Martinez, D. (2019), "Thinking Infrastructure and the Organization of Markets: The Creation of a Legal Market for Cannabis in Colorado", Kornberger, M., Bowker, G.C., Elyachar, J., Mennicken, A., Miller, P., Nucho, J.R. and Pollock, N. (Ed.) Thinking Infrastructures (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Vol. 62), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 233-253.



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