Our Vision and Mission

We envision a society where public policy related to cannabis and other substances protects health and advances equity in all its forms.

We use scientific research to identify and advocate for cannabis policy that advances public health and equity, prioritizing groups vulnerable to harms, such as youth. We engage and support partners in our work to ensure that government and industry actions align with these priorities.

Strategies We Use:

  • Scientific Research
  • Policy Design
  • Technical assistance to government and community partners
  • Key audience education
  • Community stakeholder engagement
  • Advocacy
  • Accountability

What We Do

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.

We provide technical assstance to jurisdictions that are currently regulating cannabis, considering legalizing or decriminalizing cannabis, and to community partners. We develop and share models for safer and more effective cannabis policy, and provide guidance on policies that can reduce harm and prevent problem cannabis use.

We take an evidence-based approach by carrying out and drawing on scientific research, cannabis policy analyses, and lessons from tobacco and alcohol control.

Please contact Aurash Soroosh for more information.

Clinician perspectives on adolescent Cannabis-Related beliefs and behaviors following recreational cannabis legalization

By Kaiser Permanente and Getting it Right from the Start, Science Direct, April 2024

In this new research paper published in Science Direct, we found that clinicians reported a post-legalization rise in teen cannabis use and cannabis-related consequences alongside shifts in norms, access, marketing, and reduced harm perceptions.

Tell Your Representatives: Support AB 2223 (Aguiar-Curry) if Amended – Cannabis: Industrial Hemp

Child poisonings with hemp and cannabis are up 3,000% nationally and principals are facing a rise in students being stoned at school and accidental ingestions of dangerous hemp candies by young children. AB 2223 does limit intoxicating hemp if the new 1mg of THC per package is kept, but key amendments are still needed to keep California’s kids safe.

Tell Your Representatives: Oppose AB 1775 (Haney) – Protect Californians and Smoke-Free Air

By allowing licensed cannabis retailers permitted for on-site cannabis consumption to also prepare & sell non-cannabis foods & beverages, AB 1775 will take us back in time to the era of smoke-filled bars and restaurants, undermining decades of progress in smoke-free air. Please tell your representatives in the California Legislature to OPPOSE AB 1775!

State of Cannabis Report: Are Local Policies Protecting Us?

Getting it Right from the Start, October 31, 2023

Last October, Getting it Right from the Start, a project of the Public Health Institute (PHI), released its 5th annual State of Cannabis Report, tracking adoption of key policies by cities and counties that allow cannabis retail sales. The scorecard scale is 1 to 100. The 2023 range is 0-51 with SLO city and Contra Costa County as top scorers.

Have questions? We can help!

Getting it Right from the Start
Public Health Institute
2000 Center Street, Ste 308
Berkeley, CA 94704
P: (510) 344-7221

Join Us!

Join our Listserv and be part of a dedicated community of public health advocates, regulatory officials, parents, concerned citizens, research scientists, medical professionals, and policymakers.

Sign up for our action alerts and join the movement to create a safer legal cannabis marketplace without driving up harmful consumption. 

Want to learn more? Do you need assistance? We can help! Please contact Aurash Soroosh for more information or just contact us with questions.