Is it too soon to assess public health effects of legalisation of recreational cannabis use in the USA?

18 Jul 2016

MarijuaniaFour states in the United States of America have legalised the recreational use of cannabis, and an ongoing concern has been the potential public health effects due to potential widespread use of the substance.

In the latest issue of Lancet Psychiatry, CYSAR Director Professor Wayne Hall, with Professor Michael Lynskey, has outlined why it is likely too soon to be able to assess these potential effects. They argue this is because there are several factors that could delay the full commercialisation of the legal cannabis industry. These factors include restrictions on various licenced producers and sellers, and legal conflicts between Federal and State laws that may influence the speed at which cannabis can be commercialised in the States where it is legal to do so. They also suggest that any increases in cannabis use or harms could be minimised if governments were to introduce public health policies which limited the promotional activities of the legal cannabis industry, restricting sale to adults, and maintained cannabis prices at a substantial fraction of the black market price.

The article is published online, however if you have difficulty accessing the article, please contact Megan Weier (