ANR UPDATE, 34(4), Winter 2015

Marijuana Legalization and Nonsmokers' Rights

23 states and Washington, D.C. have now legalized some form of "medical marijuana." Some have also legalized recreational use, including AK, CO, OR, and WA. In a campaign for marijuana legalization, proponent messaging focuses on "decriminalization." But there is a big distinction between decriminalization and mass commercialization. Marijuana is starting to look more like tobacco - with a commercial industry seeking to maximize sales, profits, and product consumption- backed by marketing campaigns, lobbyists, and lawyers to shape regulation. At the same time, tobacco is starting to look a little more like marijuana - seeking to dovetail on any opportunity to renormalize smoking in social environments like bars, and pushing to allow for indoor use of e-cigarettes and "vape pens" that can be used to consume both tobacco and marijuana products.

In Denver, the pot industry recently proposed and then withdrew a ballot measure that would have allowed marijuana smoking in any bar or public venue in the city. Although the measure purported to limit smoking to patios, there would have been pressure to make those patios largely enclosed. The pot industry wants clarity on where pot can be legally used, but this can run headlong into smokefree workplace and public place laws. What about bars? What about in a multi-unit apartment building where the smoke affects other people? ANR's position is that regardless of the smoking form - take it outside so that the smoke doesn't impact other people. Smoke is smoke. Secondhand marijuana smoke, like tobacco smoke, contains hundreds of chemicals, many of which are toxic. The smoke also contains hazardous fine particles (PM 2.5) that pose a significant health risk to nonsmokers.


"Buddie the Marijuana Mascot" promotes pot in Ohio.
Is this the new Joe Camel targeting kids?




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