Cannabis: Moving Forward, Protecting Health

Authors: David Jernigan, PhD, Rebecca L. Reynolds-Ramirez, MPH
Released: August 2021 Length: 200 Pages Published By: APHA Press Price: $35.00
Where to buy:

Momentum is building from coast to coast for legalization of cannabis for non-medical use, and public health expertise needs to be in the conversation. While a number of states have already legalized cannabis, many more are in the process, immersed in a complex web of questions, including producing cannabis safely while protecting employees, taxing effectively and fairly, marketing equitably, and regulating growers, processors, and retailers. 

Cannabis: Moving Forward, Protecting Health takes decades of research and experience on regulating legal drugs such as tobacco and alcohol, and applies lessons learned to answer these vital questions and build a framework for the healthy regulation of cannabis. 

The book offers the first and only evidence-based framework that policymakers and advocates can use as a starting point to design regulations that meet the needs and health of their citizens.

Applying lessons gleaned from decades of tobacco and alcohol regulation, the authors of Cannabis: Moving Forward, Protecting Health provide practical tools developed from the latest research to help policymakers and others with a stake in the future of non-medical cannabis. The book will help you: 

  • Understand the therapeutic effects and harms, as well as quality concerns regarding cannabis;
  • Make informed decisions about cannabis based on the research evidence available;
  • Develop cannabis regulations that address social justice issues past and present, and that deal effectively with production, sales, marketing, and taxation; and
  • Build an overarching cannabis regulatory system at state and local levels that protects young people and the health of the public.
  • Brian C. Castrucci, DrPH
  • Catherine D. Patterson, MPP
  • Grace Castillo, MPH

Media requests

To request a copy or an interview with an author, please send an email to [email protected].

Published by

APHA Press

Ordering Assistance

For assistance with placing an order, including bulk orders or requests for desk copies, please contact APHA Press.

What people are saying about
Cannabis: Moving Forward, Protecting Health

Clarence Lam, MD, MPH, Maryland State Senator

This is a must-read for any legislator, regulator, or decision-maker working on state or local cannabis policy. It is the most comprehensive report I have seen on the current examination and compilation of the practices of state and local governments when it comes to cannabis policymaking. Before any legislator or regulator proposes cannabis policies, they should read this comprehensive report.

Clarence Lam, MD, MPH, Maryland State Senator
Monica Valdes Lupi, JD, MPH, Managing Director at The Kresge Foundation 

This book provides a balanced approach to weighing the challenges and opportunities of using a public health approach to regulate cannabis. It recognizes the complexity of tackling an issue where an all or nothing strategy is not feasible, especially considering the devastating impact that criminalization has had on Black and Brown communities. Public health departments can leverage their expertise in providing data, harm education, health education, and a health equity lens to guide decision-making.

Monica Valdes Lupi, JD, MPH, Managing Director at The Kresge Foundation 
Gail C. Christopher, DN, Executive Director of the National Collaborative for Health Equity

Historic and contemporary drug policies and practices in the US have had a devastating effect on the health, well-being, and economic viability of communities of color. Insights presented in this book examine and anticipate critical public health policy issues about current legalization trends and subsequent increased availability of cannabis. The concepts are important to decision-makers as they grapple with the complex challenges of designing and implementing more equitable approaches to distributing and regulating cannabis in this new era. The authors have also reviewed extensive literature and lessons learned about the health consequences of availability of alcohol in diverse communities. I believe this book delivers a critical, forward-thinking, and future-focused analysis of an emerging public health and equity issue. It is a timely and important contribution.

Gail C. Christopher, DN, Executive Director of the National Collaborative for Health Equity

Other Titles