Unkept Promises of Public-Health Education on Marijuana

A growing gap exists between how the early marijuana-legalization laws are rolling out in Washington state and what ought to be concurrent education campaigns to give marijuana consumers science-based information to make wise choices.

Initiative 502 earmarked new excise-tax revenues to the state Department of Health to pay for “medically and scientifically accurate information about the health and safety risks posed by marijuana use.”

The initiative also called for a marijuana public-health hotline. To be available statewide, the hotline is intended to provide treatment referrals, brief counseling and educational information about marijuana.

On the road to a more just marijuana policy in the United States, we’re leaping ahead in some respects yet falling seriously behind in others. By turning away from an ineffective marijuana-prohibition policy, clearly enforced with egregious racial inequities, we’re making progress.

However, to date, no marijuana excise-tax revenues have been allocated to the state Health Department. Therefore, these educational efforts haven’t begun. In essence, 29 months have passed since voters approved I-502. During that time, while the birth of this new industry and its ever-growing array of products have been extensively covered in the media, almost no attention has been given to public-health education about the drug.

– Read the entire article at The Seattle Times.

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