Last week i blogged about the new evidence from California about the success in almost eliminating youth cigarette smoking and keeping vaping at less than half the national average. Unfortunately, the same Statewide California Student Tobacco Survey showed that youth marijuana use was substantially higher than tobacco use.
Specifically, almost one third (31.2%) of high school students reported having ever used marijuana, while 15.0% reported using it in the last 30 days. Marijuana was the most popular product, used by more high school students than all tobacco products combined (15.0% vs. 9.7%).
Now, the state legislature, under pressure from the marijuana industry, is moving to weaken the already-modest public health provisions written into Proposition 64, the law that legalized adult use marijuana in California. While I support marijuana legalization and ending the War on Drugs, the State should not be actively promoting marijuana use.
In particular, AB 1302, the bill that would once again legalize cannabis billboards on California highways is going to the floor. Public health advocates have a chance to stop it as it requires a 2/3rds vote and there is significant opposition. It may go to the floor as early as early this week.
AB 45 the bill that will legalize cannabinoids derived from hemp being added to foods sold outside the legal cannabis market, exposing kids to CBD and THC, is still in the Appropriations Committee but expected to go to the floor.
If you live in California and want to express your opinion, you can generate an email to your Senator to oppose AB 1302 and uphold Prop 64’s prohibition on highway billboards by clicking here: https://bit.ly/UjoinAB1302
Details: AB 1302 would allow cannabis billboards on California’s highways as long as they are further than 15 miles from the state border. California’s highways are already littered with cannabis advertisements, exposing millions of children to ads promoting a legal substance that is known to pose harms when use is initiated at a young age. It has been well documented that youth exposure to outdoor advertising of cannabis, alcohol, or tobacco products increases youth interest in, use, and positive perceptions of those products. (Tobacco billboards have not been allowed for years.) In addition, youth in racial and ethnic minority communities are already disproportionately affected by the legal consequences of underage alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis use, as well as the long-term health disparities resulting from habitual consumption of those substances. Children and teenagers who are driven by their parents or school bus driver on a highway with a cannabis billboard will be exposed to this advertising just as often as adults who travel the same path.
If you live in California and want to express your opinion, you can generate an email to your Senator to oppose AB 45 and keep psychoactive substances out of our food, supplements and cosmetics by clicking here: https://bit.ly/UjoinAB45
Details: AB 45 would allow cannabinoids and any other substance originating from industrial hemp, including psychoactive substances such as CBD and THC, to be legally added to foods and supplements, something that is currently considered adulteration. We are already seeing psychoactive amounts of Delta 9 THC in hemp products marketed as CBD, as well as psychoactive derivatives like delta- 8-THC being sold. This law would allow even higher amounts of THC than currently allowed in cannabis edibles in the open food market unless otherwise regulated. Worse yet it would cloak regulatory processes and require allowing the adulteration of food to be considered an emergency for regulatory purposes – both regulatory travesties that will open a backdoor for cannabinoids outside the legal cannabis system.
Thanks to Lynn Silver, MD, MPH, FAAP at the Public Health Institute for telling me about this.
2 thoughts on “Calif legislature advancing two bills to further weaken public health marijuana protections”
It’s unfortunate that we have not had the support of those with tobacco grants. We are in complete agreement with those who support preventing tobacco use, but intentionally ignoring marijuana use has cost use all, hurting young people the worst.
Most people I know who work on tobacco agree that marijuana is a big problem and are integrating it into their work. The California Tobacco Related Disease Research Program now supports marijuana research.
I agree with you that the state’s political leaders and marijuana bureaucracy still prioritize promotion and sales above health, as evidenced by the fact that these bills have got as far as they have.