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The evolving legal landscape and public perception surrounding cannabis regulation in the United States is giving rise to increased availability and use of cannabis and cannabis products. It is ASAM’s viewpoint that it is imperative that Americans promote and adopt public policies that protect public health and safety as well as protect the integrity of our nation’s pharmaceutical approval process, which is grounded in well-designed and executed clinical research. Currently, the legalization of cannabis in some states but not others provides a unique opportunity for a thorough investigation into the societal and public health impact of broader cannabis use. Use the resources below to advocate for how a jurisdiction can best protect and promote public health as they consider the legal status of marijuana use. 

Talking Points

  • Marijuana Talking Points (ASAM) Use these talking points to help guide your discussion with policymakers on the regulation of marijuana. 

Research and Reports

  • Marijuana Use Fact Sheet. (ASAM) General information on the biological and psychological effects of marijuana use as well as data on the connections between marijuana use, addiction and mental illness. 
  • Marijuana and Cannabinoids Neuroscience Research Summit Summary. (NIH) The National Institutes of Health held a two-day meeting in March to present the latest science and data on a wide range of topics related to marijuana use, such as addiction, PTSD, psychosis and driving, among others. This summary describes each presentation given and the issues that still need to be researched. 
  • Marijuana Research Report Series. (NIDA) The National Institute of Drug Abuse developed a report to summarize the most up-to-date science on the adverse health effects and the potential therapeutic benefits linked to marijuana use among both the young and old. 
  • Considering Marijuana Legalization: Insights for Vermont and Other Jurisdictions. (RAND) A report on possible alternatives to traditional marijuana prohibition, showing that legalization can take many forms, distinguished along at least four dimensions: the kinds of organizations that are allowed to provide the drug, the regulations under which those organizations operate, the nature of the products that can be distributed and price. The report looks at Vermont as a test case for possible implications of each choice.
  • The Impact of Marijuana Policies on Youth: Clinical, Research and Legal Update. (The American Academy of Pediatrics) Researchers studied the impact of marijuana policies on adolescents as they examine current epidemiology of marijuana use, biology of marijuana compounds, side effects of marijuana use, effects of use on adolescent brain development, issues concerning medical marijuana and the four different legal and policy approaches to the regulation of marijuana.
  • How States Handle Drug Use During Pregnancy. (ProPublica) An effective tool that summarizes the legal issues facing pregnant women across the country who are engaged in drug use. Many women face charges of child abuse or other crimes when their newborns test positive for both illicit and licit drugs, resulting in mothers losing their children or being put behind bars. These laws have devastating effects on the health and well being of the child and the mother.

Policy Resources