May 20, 2020

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Public Health and Medicine Need to Respond to Cannabis Commercialization

Candice Bowling, Amy Hafez and I just published “Public Health and Medicine’s Need to Respond to Cannabis Commercialization in the United States: A Commentary” in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs.  This paper traces the entry of multinational corporations into the cannabis business and describes how current federal drug policy makes it almost impossible to conduct research on the products people are actually using.  The resulting information vacuum plays into Big Business’ hands because it means that most of the health “information” is coming from the companies who are profiting from selling these new products. 

We also highlight the need for health advocacy groups to more broadly enter the cannabis policy debate.  With a couple notable exceptions, such as the American Public Health Association and American Academy of Pediatrics, the silence of health and medical groups has left a vacuum that is being filled by cannabis advocates.

This is not an argument against decriminalization; it is an argument for federal policy to catch up with reality so that personal, clinical, and policy positions can be based on evidence.

Here is the abstract:

Cannabis legalization has resulted in rapid commercialization, making this new market increasingly attractive to tobacco, alcohol and beverage, agricultural, and pharmaceutical multinational corporations, who are well positioned to capitalize on the synergy between cannabis and their products. The fact that cannabis remains a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act is inhibiting research, which consequently prevents evidence-based regulation of modern, more potent, engineered cannabis products and their use. Without a research exemption for legitimate studies of commercially available products, cannabis’ Schedule I classification makes it very difficult to conduct medical and scientific research to inform policymaking and regulation. As corporate commercialization looms large, public health organizations need to engage the issue of rapid commercialization of cannabis products and press for evidence-based policies based on public health best practices.

The full citation is  Candice M. Bowling, Amy Y. Hafez & Stanton A. Glantz (2020) Public Health and Medicine’s Need to Respond to Cannabis Commercialization in the United States: A Commentary, Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, DOI: 10.1080/02791072.2020.1761040.  It is available here.

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.