In an excellent opinion piece for The Hill, Elizabeth Long, Ph.D. and Diana Fishbein, Ph.D., - members of the National Prevention Science Coalition to Improve Lives (NPSC) - present an argument for cannabis reform. Their proposals would change the government's approach on cannabis from a criminal-justice focus to efforts dedicated to public health. They argue that current laws have failed to protect communities and that "These adverse outcomes are rooted in policies enacted to tackle this public health problem that has little to do with public health."
They present statistics on how cannabis prohibition has been ineffective, costly, and unfair. They note that, "A public health approach focuses on the implementation and enforcement of regulations to manage health risks through policy changes, such as taxation, regulation of advertising, and age limits."
Their compelling arguments do not, however, address a major factor affecting public health: the mass production of counterfeit cannabis products for the black market which has led to illness and even death. Realistically, so long as the illicit sales represent a large portion of cannabis transactions, any other approaches to keeping cannabis safe will be greatly limited.
In addition to the proposals by Dr.'s Long and Fishbein the government needs to mandate the usage of anti-counterfeiting technology - like that made by solo sciences - which will prevent untested, unverified, and potentially dangerous products from being passed off as legitimate options. Only then will other regulations be truly effective.