Marijuana legalization is growing, so let it be better studied, Shifman writes.(Photo: Brennan Linsley / AP)
Whether you love it or hate it, it’s a fact that 29 states have some form of marijuana decriminalization or legalization, with more considering the possibility.
People have strong opinions about the legalization of marijuana — but how often are those opinions based on science and an understanding of evolving best practices? It’s high time we have a national conversation that is rational, science-based, and open minded around the many public health implications.
Substance use disorders, youth prevention, drugged driving, health effects, pesticides — the list is long, and these questions make it a complex process for states working to translate policy and legislation into reasonable regulation.
The marijuana industry has been dominated by commercial interests, and any national conference or gathering has been overshadowed by these market drivers. Is this how we want public policy to be determined: On the fly and pressured by interests more concerned about profit than public health and safety? Or do we want to invest the time and energy into research, thoughtful policy-making, and application of best practices as they evolve?
We think the latter, which is why we’ve organized the National Cannabis Summit, to be held Aug. 28-30, in Denver, as the first forum for states and stakeholders to gather and have a neutral, objective, and open conversation about the hard questions.
Speakers will include top experts on U.S. drug policy, officials from states in more advanced stages of implementing medical/recreational marijuana, and federal representation with a research focus. They bring knowledge of public health and safety, public policy, research, governance and science. The topics will focus on practical approaches to sorting through the challenges raised.
The hosting organizations — Advocates for