Public Health and Medicine's Need to Respond to Cannabis Commercialization in the United States: A Commentary

J Psychoactive Drugs. 2020 May 19;1-6. doi: 10.1080/02791072.2020.1761040. Online ahead of print.


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.

Keywords: Cannabis; public policy.