High Times: The Legalization of Cannabis and Its Impact on Health and Community Outcomes

Health Committee

Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States. According to the CDC there was an overall increase in the initiation and use of marijuana among all ages between 2002 and 2014, and significant decreases in perceived risk.

In November, with the passage of Proposition 64, California joined 21 other states who have decriminalized marijuana use, and 25 states who allow the medical use of marijuana. The new law allows, “adults age 21+ to possess, transport, purchase, consume and share up to one ounce of marijuana and eight grams of marijuana concentrates” and establishes a 15% sales tax and additional cultivation taxes based on plant weight; Marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

With its passage, Proposition 64 has generated a robust discussion and debate around its impact on various health and community outcomes, including:

  • Marijuana use among young people. Marijuana has been shown to have adverse effects on brain development, especially among adolescents
  • Access and availability of drug treatment options for marijuana addiction
  • Regulating “edibles,” food or drinks that contain marijuana
  • Disproportionate arrest rates, even in states that have legalized marijuana
  • Legal implications regarding labor and other relevant regulations
  • The business aspect of legal marijuana use

Additional topics will include, how to regulate the density of growing sites, manufacturing sites, and retail sites and the impact on the communities we serve. While many hope that marijuana legalization will eliminate the disparate marijuana arrest rates in the state, studies show African Americans continue to encounter higher rates of marijuana arrests, even in places where marijuana is legal. Already there is some data that shows that medical marijuana dispensaries in the city of Los Angeles are disproportionately located in low income communities, similar to the way we have a disproportionate high density of corner markets that primarily sell alcohol or cigarettes in low income neighborhoods.

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25th Annual Summit Workshops:

#ECSUMMIT23 RECAP: Early Education: Promise, Partnership and Policy

The Education Committee’s Early Education: Promise, Partnership and Policy workshop 453  476360gathered a room full of early education advocates eager to hear from Dr. Celia Ayala, of Los Angeles Universal Preschool (LAUP); Duane Dennis, of Pathways; and Kim Patillo-Brownson, of The Advancement Project. The workshop was moderated by Alex Johnson, of the Children’s Defense Fund – California.

460  476360Dr. Ayala discussed the promise of high quality early education including the impact of brain development, evidence-based practices and how early education contributes to children becoming lifelong learners. Dr. Ayala elaborated on how the achievement gaps in learning manifests early in children.

Duane Dennis shed light on access to high quality early education, referrals and resources in the 2nd District service area. He elaborated on how the resources and referrals serve as a one-stop shop from intake of the family’s specific needs to valuable information about choosing quality early education settings.

466  476360Kim Patillo-Brownson, explained how we could make early learning and development a priority in the 2nd District. She shared some success stories from across the nation that we may apply in the 2nd District while also telling the parents how they can advance early education as a policy.

469  476360Alex Johnson achieved the remarkable task of keeping the conversation moving and facilitating questions and answers and from the audience, taking great care to listen and facilitate discussions that elicited the views of all the attendees.