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Takeaways From The World's Largest Cannabis Public Health Forum

Javier Hasse

The 2019 North American Cannabis Summit, the world’s largest cannabis public health forum, just released its Summary of Proceedings.

Nearly 80 keynote speakers from six countries provided details on matters related to public health, the science of cannabis, and best practices in governance, all focused through a social and health equity lens. Included were tracks around:

  • educating target audiences about the variety of cannabis products and their health and impairment effects;
  • public health messaging;
  • capacity building for implementing evidence-based prevention practices;
  • policy approaches to legalization;
  • emerging regulatory models;
  • emerging research and epidemiological data; and
  • public safety focused on cannabis-impaired driving, road safety, and public consumption.

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Calls to action included:

  • ensuring the safety of cannabis products through regulatory oversight, product testing, and standardization of product potency;
  • establishing bias-free training for healthcare professionals and staff of cannabis dispensaries around dosing, forms of administration, treatment plans, adverse reactions, cannabis use disorder, and contraindications;
  • facilitating access to medical-use cannabis;
  • systemizing expungement of records related to cannabis offenses; and
  • expanding and standardizing cannabis measures and data collection at the national level.

Lynn Silver, Senior Advisor to the Public Health Institute, states in the proceedings, “For legalization to have net positive societal effects, rather than simply allowing the emergence of a new tobacco-like industry, strong guardrails need to be in place. The voices of public health officials, clinicians, parents, and teachers need to be at the table. Protecting new legal investors cannot lead to the same or more incarceration as before.”

The summary also announces the upcoming Cannabis Public Health Network, a multinational, active community of cannabis experts across various content and practice areas that will share information, research, and potential opportunities for collaboration.

“The current outbreak of illness and deaths related to vaping, and the lack of federal oversight of cannabis, point directly to the need for a collaborative public health approach to prevention, regulation, and research on the emerging legal cannabis markets nationally and globally,” said Linda Frazier, co-director of the 2019 Summit. “The Cannabis Public Health Network will help meet this pressing need.”

The summary is available for a limited time at www.northamericancannabissummit.org/proceedings.

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