Examining public and individual health issues amidst debates over marijuana reform


After a well-deserved week off for spring break, the students in my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform Seminar are back at it this coming week with presentations on their research topics.  The first presentation this week will focus on health issues, and here is how my student has described his topic, along with the background readings he has provided for his classmates (and the rest of us):

I will be looking at the various public and individual health issues – both real and imagined – pertaining to the national debate over marijuana in general and legalizing the drug’s recreational use in particular.  Special attention will be given to the way in which our society’s normative value judgments have dictated how we view marijuana products in the context of public health. 

As a result, I will be examining a number of associated issues including whether edibles are safer than smoking marijuana, marijuana’s addictiveness or lack thereof, the cognitive and non-cognitive health problems that can be caused by regularly using marijuana products, and whether the accidental consumption of edible marijuana products by children is a legitimate cause for concern. 

Finally, I will also offer my thoughts on how we can most effectively respond to the genuine health risks posed by a post-legalization America.

1) Manisha Krishnan, We Fact-Checked an ER Doctor Who Said Weed Edibles Can Kill Kids, Vice (Aug. 21, 2018)

2) Douglas A. Berman, New Report Details Big Decrease in Pedestrian Fatalities in Marijuana Legalization States…but Makes No Mention of Trend Despite Fear-mongering Last Year, Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform (Mar. 10, 2019)

3) Nora D. Volkow et al., Adverse Health Effects of Marijuana Use, 370(23) New Eng. Med. J. 2219 (2014)

4) DrugAbuse.com, Joints vs. Edibles: How Marijuana Affects the Body (last visited Mar. 15, 2019)

5) National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: Chapter Highlights (Jan. 12, 2017)



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