In the News

Pa. lawmakers consider government-run weed dispensaries. The cannabis industry isn’t happy.

By Penn-Capital Star, April 26, 2024

Getting it Right from the Start’s Dr. Lynn Silver urges Pennsylvania legislature to consider a  state-run dispensary system for cannabis, noting, “If you do it wrong, it can take as long to untangle as the harms of the tobacco industry. If you do it more carefully and do it right, I believe it can help you assure a healthier and more just future for your children.”

California hemp products can get you as high as cannabis. How did this happen?

By Sacramento Bee, March 21, 2024

This opinion piece in the Bee covers the “shadow industry” of intoxicating hemp-based products emerging in CA that have insufficient rules on how potent product may be, no age restrictions where products sold, and can be purchased throughout state. Our own Dr. Lynn Silver notes “a hemp edible can have more THC in it than a cannabis edible”, the proliferation of these products exposes children and teens to pot at too young an age, and CA needs a legislative fix now to get THC out of hemp.

There’s a big fight brewing over legal weed in California

By San Francisco Chronicle, March 15, 2024

While this SF Chronicle article is deeply steeped in pro-industry framing, it did at least report on the fact that 56 nonprofits have called for readjusting the cannabis excise tax, as promised when the cultivation tax was axed in 2022, to keep tax-funding for childcare, youth, and substance abuse programs constant. Getting it Right from the Start’s Lynn Silver notes: “Lower taxes won’t solve an illicit market driven by overproduction and will just serve to increase industry profits.”

El Monte Earns High Score on State Cannabis Report for Promoting Public Health and Protecting Youth

By California City News, November 22, 2023

This publication of the League of California Cities reports on El Monte earning the third highest score among California cities on our 5th Annual CA Cannabis Scorecards. The high ranking was to actions like dedicating tax revenue to youth programs and addiction prevention.

State of Cannabis Report: Local Policy Scorecards (Press Coverage Summary)

November 3rd, 2023

On Tuesday, October 31, 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. Among the media coverage highlights include:

Report Scores California on Cannabis ‘Health’, Cannabis Business Executive
Public Health Institute Releases Cannabis Policy Scorecards for Cities and Counties, California City News
City of SLO leads state with cannabis safety laws, new report says, KCBX

City of SLO leads state with cannabis safety laws, new report says

KCBX Radio, October 31, 2023

KCBX radio interviews Public Health Institute’s Dr. Silver regarding our 2023 “State Of Cannabis” scorecards and the fact that the City of San Luis Obispo was our top scorer (51 pts), implementing important cannabis safety laws (Correction of article: Contra Costa County topped all counties).

Ohio Rep Says Lawmakers Are Already Preparing for What Happens After Voters Legalize Cannabis

Cannabis Wire, October 23, 2023

Article covers Ohio initiative to legalize cannabis and recent debate held that featured our own Dr. Lynn Silver, who urged an approach that seeks “…to avoid creating a new big tobacco” and praised Quebec’s restrictions on product types sold and advertising.

Cannabis industry applauds governor’s veto of bill banning cannabis labels deemed ‘attractive to children’

Santa Rosa Business Journal, October 9, 2023

Dr. Lynn Silver, a senior adviser for the statewide Public Health Institute, expressed disappointment in the outcome of AB 1207 and found a comparison to the tobacco industry’s promotion of smoking for youth. “There’s no question the (anti AB 1207 forces) took a page from the tobacco industry’s playbook,” Silver said, while also insisting the groups “are not anti-cannabis.”

Calif. cannabis industry panics over proposed label law

San Francisco Chronicle, September 25, 2023

This Chronicle article is unfortunately laden with false and misleading cannabis industry claims that go unquestioned. But, our own Lynn Silver, a medical doctor at the Public Health Institute, is provided some opportunities to set the record straight, including that we found hundreds of products at legal dispensaries that have labels mimicking existing children’s foods.

Cannabis candy’ bill one step closer to law; Would ban pot products that look like candy, soda

Golden Gate Media, September 19, 2023

The landmark nature of AB 1207 – The Cannabis Candy Child Safety Act – and its passage through the California Legislature is covered, and underscores the importance of a legal cannabis market that prioritizes children’s safety over profit.

Editorial: Halt cannabis industry’s disgracefull effort to target children

San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times, July 8, 2023

A powerful editorial argues in favor of AB 1207 noting how the cannabis industry is putting profit before children’s health by marketing flavored inhaled products and edibles that mimic kids’ favorite candy, soda and snacks.

Opinion Editorial: Cannabis industry is poisoning our kids just like tobacco has

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

A pediatrician makes a powerful case for AB 1207, urging the Senate and Gov. Gavin Newsom to place the priority of children’s health over cannabis industry profits and support this bill without watering down its effectiveness.

Cannabis and Kids: California Assembly Advances Bill to Address Pediatric Poisonings

By California Black Media, May 31st, 2023

“I have seen hundreds of young children become ill, many critically ill, after accidentally eating cannabis that looks like candy,” said Dr. Natalie Laub, Pediatrician and researcher at the University of California, San Diego. “AB 1207 would help keep cannabis products that look like candy out of the hands and bodies of our young children.”

The Cannabis Candy Child Safety Act – Press Event News Coverage

Our gathering of doctors, public and medical health groups, youth advocates, and parents for a virtual press conference urging passage of The Cannabis Candy Child Safety Act (AB 1207 – Assemblymember Irwin) received press coverage from across the state and through every medium! Among the media highlights:

Why does California allow cannabis edibles that look like kids’ snacks?, Los Angeles Times
Keeping cannabis away from kids, Calmatters
California bill seeks to prevent cannabis product packaging from appealing to children,Fox 5, San Diego
California sees push to ban pot products that resemble candy, ABC 10, Sacramento
California lawmaker seeks to ban candy-like cannabis products, KNX Radio, Los Angeles

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.”

New bills classifying hemp extract as food could put SWFL shops out of business

By Amy Galo, WINK News, April 4, 2023

Our own Dr. Lynn Silver of the Public Health Institute was quoted in the piece, noting, “THC, whether it comes from a hemp plant or a cannabis plant, is the same THC, and if there’s 5 milligrams in a gummy, it’s going to get you high, and you’re basically legalizing intoxicating cannabis. If you legalize that, people should be very clear on that. It’s not food. It shouldn’t be treated as food.”

More Young Kids — in San Diego and Around the US — Being Hospitalized After Eating Cannabis Products

By NBC-San Diego Channel 7, March 9, 2023

New research finds dramatic increase across country in the number of young children ending up in hospital after eating cannabis products. Poison Control Center calls for kids 0-12 yrs that ingested pot products up over 2000% between 2016-21 (majority under 5).

The impact of Virginia’s new proposed hemp restrictions

By WUSA-TV Channel 9, February 28, 2023

Getting it Right from the Start’s Dr. Lynn Silver is featured in a WUSA-TV report on a Virginia bill, if signed by the governor, would restrict Delta-8 THC gummies and prevent manufacturing and sale of most existing hemp products meant for pain and anxiety relief with any THC in them. Dr. Silver: “Some of these products have way more THC in them than legal cannabis edible would…”

Public Health Institute Releases Local Cannabis Scorecards for 2022

By California County News, November 23, 2022

Scorecards are provided for every jurisdiction where retail or delivery cannabis is sold. Emphasis is placed on best practices “to protect youth, reduce problem cannabis use and promote social equity beyond those already in state law,” with scores out of 100 given to each jurisdiction.

Public health group scores Calif. markets for youth protections

By Alex Halperin, WeedWeek, November 14, 2022

WeedWeek covers our annual Cannabis Policy Scorecard noting that the City of San Luis Obispo rated highest among localities with storefronts and San Benito County was tops among jurisdictions that allow only delivery.

The Juulization of Weed

By Alex Halperin, WeedWeek, October 28, 2022

WeedWeek reports on “The Juul-ization of weed”. Our own Dr. Lynn Silver is interviewed, citing a study showing 80% of kids who use tobacco started with a flavored product and there’s not good data on what additives are going into vapes at what amounts.

Governor Newsom Wants State Officials To Research Impacts Of High-Potency Marijuana

By April Dembosky, KQED, September 20, 2022

Getting It Right from the Start’s Dr. Lynn Silver is interviewed about Governor Newsom’s package of bills aimed at reforming state cannabis regulations, including directing state officials to study health impacts of high-potency cannabis.

California Dems want mental-health warnings on pot — New York should heed the lesson

By Howard Husock, New York Post, July 31, 2022

Article highlights our work on bills that sought to require health warning labels of cannabis products and prohibit marketing attractive to children and “would address a gaping regulatory hole by requiring more prominent and accurate health warnings on cannabis products.”

California Bill Would Require Warning Labels on Cannabis

By AJ Herrington, Cannabis Now, June 27th, 2022

The health risks posed by cannabis can be exacerbated by products with high levels of THC, according to proponents of the Cannabis Right to Know Act. The THC content of cannabis flower from some varietals can exceed 35%, while marijuana concentrates can boast THC levels of more than 99%.

Cases of Cannabis-Induced Psychosis Rise. Lawmakers Want to Add Mental Health Warnings to Pot Products

By April Dembosky, KQED, June 7th, 2022

“Today’s turbocharged products are turbocharging the harms associated with cannabis,” says Dr. Lynn Silver with the Public Health Institute, a nonprofit sponsoring the proposed labeling legislation, SB 1097, the Cannabis Right to Know Act.

Textual and Pictorial Enhancement of Cannabis Warning Labels: An Online Experiment among At-Risk U.S. Young Adults

By Dr. Lynn Silver, Alisa A. Padon, Others, Science Direct, June 6, 2022

This study experimentally examines whether enhanced cannabis warning labels (CWLs) outperform those currently required in the U.S. in improving recall of health risks, emotional responses, and perceived message effectiveness among at-risk young adults.

California: The State of Cannabis, Interview with Dr. Lynn Silver 

KTVU-TV, April 20, 2022

On a special edition of KTVU News at 4, Heather Holmes speaks with pediatrician Dr. Lynn Silver about health warnings on edible marijuana products and the Cannabis Right to Know Act.

Opinion: Like Tobacco, Cannabis Should Include a Warning Label — Especially for Suicide Risk

By Dr. Roneet Lev, Times of San Diego, April 5, 2022

Cannabis products should carry a warning and consumer protections like tobacco and alcohol. One of the warnings is that the key ingredient THC has a risk of suicide. That’s why Senate Bill 1097, the Cannabis Right to Know Act, is a step in the right direction for consumer protection.

The Cannabis Right to Know Act – Press Event News Coverage

Our gathering of doctors, public health groups, youth and children advocates, and parents for a virtual press conference urging passage of The Cannabis Right to Know Act (SB 1097 – Senator Pan) received an enormous amount or press coverage! In addition to being featured on three primetime television news shows (including KRON-4 and KTVU-2) and featured in Politico and Calmatters newsletters, check out some of our other media highlights:

State bill proposes more prominent warning labels for cannabis

Eureka Times-Standard, March 31, 2022

“The Cannabis Right to Know Act makes sure that consumers know how to use cannabis more safely, know why using legal cannabis is safer and know the key health risks associated with cannabis use,” state Senator and pediatrician Richard Pan, the author of the bill, said during a Thursday press conference.

Opinion: Fact Checking Misleading Claims that California’s Cannabis Industry Is Suffering

Times of San Diego, March 23, 2022

In their quest to expand the industry’s commercial footprint in cities and counties across the state, lobbyists have disseminated information that does not align with independent research conducted by the Public Health Institute, which tracks local laws, cannabis licenses, and market data.

As new California bill seeks cannabis tax breaks, youth groups appeal to state to keep funding

Santa Rosa Press Democrat, February 17, 2022

Dr. Lynn Silver, Public Health Institute program manager, contends cannabis businesses trying to circumvent their tax obligations are “violating the intent” of what the state voters passed in 2016 with Prop. 64. The pediatrician suggested the anti-tax movement is driven by large cannabis corporations “maximizing profits” at the expense of children’s programs.

Opinion: California’s cannabis conundrum — protecting youth or corporate profit?

By Dr Lynn Silver, Director of Getting it Right from the Start, San Jose Mercury News, February 12, 2022

Dr. Lynn Silver of Getting it Right from the Start details the challenges facing the legal cannabis market, the problem of overproduction, the importance of preserving current industry tax rates to pay for important prevention and health programs, and a series of sensible approaches to cannabis legalization in California.

California Promised Social Equity After Pot Legalization. Those Hit Hardest Feel Betrayed.

By Marisa Gerber, Los Angeles Times, January 27, 2022

Marisa Gerber of the Los Angeles Times investigates the unfulfilled Prop 64 promises of social equity for the communities most negatively impacted by the Drug War. Why not reserve all, or most, licenses for equity applicants & reject cannabis industry calls for across-the-board tax cuts so we can preserve what funding there is for childcare, youth, and equity programs?

Editorial: Billboards advertising pot broke Prop. 64’s promise. Don’t go back on the pledge to protect teens

Los Angeles Times, January 2, 2022

The Los Angeles Times points out that shielding teens from increased exposure to marijuana was a key selling point of the legalization plan California voters approved in 2016 and current billboard advertising violates its intent. The piece interviews our own Alisa Padon, who describes how seeing billboards advertising cannabis in communities serves to normalize it.

Opinion Editorial: Two cannabis bills detrimental to public health and food safety

By Dr. Lynn Silver, Director of Getting it Right from the Start, CalMatters, July 20, 2020

Getting it Right from the Start’s Dr. Silver highlights, among other topics, our recent report that found much of cannabis revenues from legal marijuana in California, aren’t going towards helping the poor, or Black and Brown neighborhoods most harmed by the War on Drugs, but rather, the police.

Californian Cannabis Tax Revenues Are Used to Boost Police Budgets

By Alexander Lekhtman, Filter, July 23, 2020

The article details a Getting it Right from the Start report that found much of cannabis revenues from legal marijuana in California, aren’t going towards helping the poor, or Black and Brown neighborhoods most harmed by the War on Drugs, but rather, the police.