The conversation about cannabis use must be rooted in science and data

Americans should recognize that cannabis is here. Full stop. It is here in states that have prohibited it, in states that have condoned its use for medical purposes and it is here in states that have legal, adult consumption. How we regulate cannabis on a local, state and federal level will help change the positive and negative impacts cannabis has on communities, but no policy will make cannabis go away.

National polling from my organization, the Coalition for Cannabis Policy, Education, and Regulation (CPEAR), shows that 70% of voters are in favor of federal cannabis reform. Yet we lack clear, established best practices around some of the most pressing issues facing cannabis, such as its effect on users’ mental health — a fact that I believe has curtailed efforts for regulation.With that in mind, a crucial next step is to have a serious national conversation about how best to regulate cannabis. Unfortunately, op-eds like this one detract from that conversation.

Despite its widespread acceptance, prohibitionists are actively peddling a dangerous and false narrative that cannabis has a direct relationship to violence. Rather than push irresponsible scare tactics based on false claims, it’s time to acknowledge the reality that states have acted and pursued responsible federal regulation that results in a safer regulatory framework. Let’s start with understanding the facts.

First, it remains unclear whether there is a causal link between cannabis use and violent behavior.

Continue reading at: