Getting it Right from the Start

Advancing Public Health & Equity in Cannabis Policy


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They say the devil is in the details.

We’re here to help.
(for FREE!)

In most states, cannabis legalization has focused mainly on creating a legal profit-making system rather than putting guardrails in place to promote public health, protect youth, and advance social equity. Our project works with jurisdictions that have legalized cannabis, or are considering legalizing it, to develop and share models for safer and more effective cannabis policy. We provide guidance on policies that can reduce harm, prevent problem cannabis use, and remedy the harms caused by the criminalization of cannabis. We take an evidence-based approach and draw on scientific research, cannabis policy analyses, and lessons from tobacco and alcohol control.

Act today to support the Cannabis Candy Child Safety Act

Getting it Right from the Start

AB1207 (Irwin), the Cannabis Candy Child Safety Act, passed the California state legislature last week and is with the Governor for signature, thanks to the support of parents, pediatricians, emergency doctors, and community activists. AB1207 will strengthen prohibitions on cannabis packaging, stopping the creation of cannabis products with labeling and marketing that are attractive to kids. The cannabis industry is fighting back hard and we need your support to make sure this bill is signed into law.

CA Bill Addressing Surge of Child Cannabis Poisonings Passes Legislature, Heads to Gov. Newsom’s Desk

Getting it Right from the Start, September 18 2023

“A robust legal cannabis market can flourish without marketing products that imitate leading candies and junk food or cartoons that are clearly attractive to children,” said Dr. Lynn Silver, pediatrician and Director of Getting it Right from the Start, at the Public Health Institute. “The California Legislature has sent a clear message that we need to create a safer cannabis market that starts putting kids’ health above profit. We urge Governor Newsom to sign it and rigorously enforce it!”

San Jose Mercury OpEd: Cannabis industry is poisoning our kids just like tobacco has

Dr. Natalie Laub, San Jose Mercury News, June 18 2023

From opinion piece: “I’ve seen 100’s of young children become ill because they accidentally ate a product that contained cannabis. There can be a world in which its legal & children are kept safe. AB 1207 is critical first step in accomplishing this. As a pediatrician, I urge the Senate & Governor Newsom to place the priority of children’s health over cannabis industry profits & support this bill w/o watering down its effectiveness.

San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times Editorial: Halt cannabis industry’s disgraceful efforts to target children

San Jose Mercury News, July 8, 2023

From editorial in favor of AB 1207 – the Cannabis Candy Child Safety Act: “The cannabis industry (is) putting profit before children’s health by marketing…edibles that mimic kids’ favorite candy, soda & snacks…It’s time for the Legislature & the Governor to end this outrageous practice before more children are harmed. It’s time for them to be the adults in the room.”

Los Angeles Times Editorial: Why does California allow cannabis edibles that look like kids’ snacks?

Los Angeles Times, May 17 2023

From editorial in favor of AB 1207 – the Cannabis Candy Child Safety Act: “California voters were told that children would be protected from legal cannabis products, & state lawmakers should follow through on that commitment.”

We have conveyed our research into best practices

Model Ordinances

Guidance on public health & equity measures that states, cities and counties should consider adopting  if cannabis legalization is under consideration or has already occurred.  Specific models appropriate for California cities and counties are available.

Model Comments & Letters

Utilizing the best scientific evidence, we draft model written and oral comments as well as sign-on letters to advocate for or against proposed cannabis policies.

Basic Principles of Action

Digestible key principles are available to help determine the next steps you can take to improve cannabis policies.

Program Goals

  • Protect children and youth.
  • Support economic equity and social justice.
  • Avert the emergence of a powerful new tobacco-like industry.
  • Protect public health.
  • Minimize problem cannabis use as well as the attendant health and social harms.
  • Mitigate the damage done by the war on drugs.
  • Prevent exacerbation of existing health inequalities that disproportionately affect economically disadvantaged communities and vulnerable populations, such as low birth weight, poor mental health outcomes, and lower high school graduation rates.

Reach Us

Getting it Right from the Start
Public Health Institute
555 12th Street, Ste 290
Oakland, CA 94607

About Us

We collaboratively develop and test models for optimal cannabis policy (retail practices, marketing, and taxation), based on the best available evidence from scientific research and current best practices, with the goal of reducing harms, protecting youth, preventing problem cannabis use, and advancing social justice as well as economic equity.

We provide technical assistance to jurisdictions that are currently regulating cannabis, jurisdictions that are considering legalizing or decriminalizing cannabis, and to community partners. Please contact Aurash Soroosh for more information.