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.

Watch Our AB 1207 Press Event and Our 2 Minute Special Cannabis Product Video Compilation

Getting it Right from the Start, May 16, 2023

Watch the video of the press event and our 2 minute video run through of all the legally purchased cannabis produts mimicking children’s candy, snacks, and sodas!

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.”

Lawmaker, Advocates Gather in Support of CA Bill to Address Child Cannabis Poisonings Epidemic

Getting it Right from the Start, May 16 2023

(CA) Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin joined pediatricians, public health, education, and youth advocacy groups for a virtual press conference in support of a landmark piece of legislation that addresses the recent explosion of poisonings and hospitalizations of young children due to accidental ingestion of cannabis products.

AB 1207 Fact Sheet: Cannabis Product or Not?

Getting it Right from the Start, April 2023

California, along with the rest of the nation, is experiencing an explosion of children being rushed to emergency departments due to accidental ingestion/overconsumption of psychoactive cannabis products that often mimic some of their favorite brands of candy, soda, or snacks. Don’t believe us? Do you think a child could distinguish these cannabis products from the commonly sold ones or characters they are mimicking?

Take Action: Tell Your Lawmaker to Support the Cannabis Candy Child Safety Act (AB 1207)

AB 1207 is approaching a critical vote in the California Assembly! Make your voices heard! Urge your state lawmaker to support The Cannabis Candy Child Safety Act! No one should go to jail for cannabis possession but no young child should be hauled from school in an ambulance because they mistakenly ate cannabis laced gummies or edibles either.

Are Local Cannabis Policies Protecting Us?

Getting it Right from the Start, November 2nd, 2022

Getting it Right from the Start, a project of the Public Health Institute (PHI), releases its 4th annual Local Cannabis Policy Scorecards, which track and evaluate policies passed by cities and counties that allow legal cannabis retail sales. “The legal market in California has grown enormously and is now stabilizing,” noted pediatrician Lynn Silver, MD, MPH, who heads PHI’s Getting it Right from the Start program. “Yet, the state and many local jurisdictions still failed to put in place the guardrails necessary to protect youth and public health. These scorecards provide a clear roadmap for cities and counties to meet this moment.”

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.