Millions of Americans use cannabis in moderation each month without any problems. However, evidence is mounting of harmful physical and mental health effects associated with heavy or long-term regular cannabis use. At the same time, existing legal markets in the United States are making high-potency cannabis products available to adult consumers. Recent international recommendations suggest that governments adopt market regulations that promote responsible use. Federal policymakers in the U.S. are debating liberalizing cannabis policy and looking to states and nations with existing recreational cannabis laws as examples. Amid this debate, it is important to examine the extent to which regulations within various jurisdictions promote responsible use and protect public health. We review elements of cannabis legalization policies across U.S. states, Canada and Uruguay that research suggests could be important for promoting responsible use. Specific policy areas considered include: capping the amount of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in all products, instituting sales limits, taxing cannabis based on potency of THC and implementing seed-to-sale tracking systems. We find that current regulations of legal cannabis markets are weaker in the U.S. compared to Canada and Uruguay in terms of preventing harmful use across these dimensions. Federal policymakers should understand the strengths and limitations of existing U.S. state policies and consider public health regulations being adopted abroad when developing federal cannabis regulations.
You can read the full study published in the Schaeffer Center White Paper Series here: https://healthpolicy.usc.edu/research/federal-regulations-of-cannabis-for-public-health-in-the-u-s/
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