Date Published: September 27, 2016
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Author(s): Rachel Ann Barry, Stanton Glantz
Abstract: Rachel Barry and Stanton Glantz argue that a public health framework that prioritizes public health over business interests should be used by US states and countries that legalize retail marijuana.
Partial Text: While illegal in the United States, marijuana use has been increasing since 2007 . In response to political campaigns to legalize retail sales, by 2016 four US states (Colorado, Washington, Alaska, and Oregon) had enacted citizen initiatives to implement regulatory frameworks for marijuana, modeled on US alcohol policies , where state agencies issue licenses to and regulate private marijuana businesses [2,3,4]. Arguments for legalization have stressed the negative impact marijuana criminalization has had on social justice, public safety, and the economy . Uruguay, an international leader in tobacco control , became the first country to legalize the sale of marijuana in 2014, and, as of July 2016, was implementing a state monopoly for marijuana production and distribution . None of the US laws , or pending proposals in other states , prioritize public health. Because marijuana is illegal in most places, jurisdictions worldwide (including other US states) considering legalization can learn from the US experience to shape regulations that favor public health over profits.