Quality & Science

ASAM Issues New Policy Statement on Marijuana, Cannabinoids and Legalization

by Susan Awad | September 25, 2015

On September 21, ASAM's Board of Directors approved a new Policy Statement on Marijuana, Cannabinoids and Legalization. The new statement is the result of a months-long research and writing process spearheaded by Drs. Michael Miller, Norm Wetterau and Jeff Wilkins, and overseen by ASAM's Public Policy Committee.

As more and more states move to legalize marijuana and other cannabis products for either "medicinal" or adult recreational use, and as Congress considers bills intended to facilitate research into the potential therapeutic effects of marijuana, it was clear that ASAM needed an updated policy statement that speaks to the broad public health and safety aspects of such measures. With legalization ballot initiatives expected in several states in 2016, the development of this new statement could not be more timely.

The new statement details the latest research on the health and public health effects of marijuana use, as well as the potential medicinal benefits of particular cannabinoids. It also discusses the political and social attitudes about marijuana that inform the current debate around legalization, and differentiates efforts to decriminalize marijuana use with efforts to legalize marijuana for commercial distribution and sale. 

The policy recommends a balanced response to legalization efforts, offering support for decriminalization and access to treatment as well as detailing several public health and safety measures that should be instituted by jurisdictions that legalize marijuana to protect vulnerable populations. It also includes recommendations to encourage basic and health services research on marijuana and marijuana use, while reaffirming ASAM's support of our current research-based pharmaceutical development, approval and regulatory process.

To read the full policy statement, please click here.