Research Society on Marijuana Conference Will Feature Contributions from Cannabis Control Commissioners and Staff
WORCESTER—Beginning Friday, July 22, the Research Society on Marijuana (RSMj) will host its sixth annual meeting at Boston University and feature several presentations by Cannabis Control Commission (Commission) Commissioners and staff. Commission research, data, and projects will be presented throughout the three-day conference, including a symposium with five oral presentations, two poster presentations, and a “Flash Talk.”
Since its inception, the Commission has focused on merging academia and policy by bringing diverse stakeholders together and publishing for a variety of audiences to advance cannabis policy research. At this year’s RSMj conference, the Commission’s presentations will highlight the opportunities cannabis regulatory agencies provide for evidence-based policy- and decision-making. In particular, the agency’s comprehensive data collection practices, combined with its internal research department, are critical assets for other regulators who are monitoring and implementing this young industry and need to understand the effects of legalization on public safety, public health, the economy, social equity, and other areas.
“This Commission is committed to operating as a 21st century government agency, and a big part of that work is ensuring transparency through our open data strategy and adding to the growing body of research around medical- and adult-use cannabis,” said Commission Executive Director Shawn Collins. “I’m proud of our team members who are presenting during RSMj’s annual meeting, and the contributions they are making to advance knowledge of the regulated cannabis industry in Massachusetts and beyond.”
The symposium presentation taking place on July 22 entitled, From Reefer Madness to Regulation: Forming Evidence-Based Cannabis Policy at the Intersection of Regulation and Research, will feature Commission Chair Sarah G. Kim, Commissioner Ava Callender Concepcion, Research Director Dr. Julie K. Johnson, Research Analyst Alex Colby, Research Project Coordinator Olivia Laramie, and Jennifer Whitehill, a University of Massachusetts Amherst Associate Professor and researcher. The presenters will cover the Commission’s robust legislative research agenda and how the agency conducts and applies cannabis policy research. They will highlight areas such as the agency’s Open Data Platform, insight into the scope of the illicit market, efforts to measure the disproportionate impact of the war on drugs, and the effectiveness of Massachusetts’ “More About Marijuana” public awareness campaign.
“The Commission has always relied on research to educate our policy decisions, and our efforts to support the communities most harmed by the war on drugs are no different,” said Commissioner Ava Callender Concepcion. “We continue to focus on bringing researchers together to better understand the impacts of cannabis prohibition, especially the effects of enforcement that still persist today, and I am proud to lead this important discussion at RSMj.”
Commission Research Department staff will also present posters at the conference. On Friday, July 22, Laramie, will present the poster, Responsible Vendor Training as a Macro-Level Prevention Tool– A Case Study of the Massachusetts Cannabis Industry, proposing metrics to assess Responsible Vendor Training (RVT) program effectiveness as a macro-level public health prevention tool for legalized states. On Saturday, July 23, Commission Research Analyst, Alex Colby, will present the poster, Using Retailer Data and Subjective Resident Experience to Assess Legal Cannabis Access in Massachusetts, assessing legal access to adult-use cannabis across each of Massachusetts’ fourteen counties. The “Flash Talk” presentation will be given by former Commission Research Analyst, Samantha Doonan, and will cover the published paper, Racial Equity in Cannabis Policy: Diversity in the Massachusetts Adult-Use Industry at 18-months. See the full RSMj Agenda here.
“I look forward to joining Commissioners and staff at RSMj’s annual conference because the advances being made in cannabis research will only strengthen our ability to ensure this is a safe, effective, and equitable industry,” said Commission Chair Sarah G. Kim. “The evidence we gain informs public health, public safety, and health care policy, as well as our understanding of the broad impacts of legalization on social equity and economic development. I’m grateful to RSMj for allowing our agency to play an active role in these important conversations with stakeholders nationwide.”
The Commission’s robust legislative research agenda, outlined in St. 2017, c. 55, § 30(f) and St. 2017, c. 55, § 62, was established to both understand and monitor the social and economic trends of cannabis use in the Commonwealth and inform future decisions that would aid in the closure of the illicit marketplace. To learn more about the agency’s Research Department, its execution of the state’s research mandate, and mission, visit MassCannabisControl.com/Research. Commission reports are also available for the public’s review at MassCannabisControl.com/PublicDocuments/Reports.
For more information about the Commission, visit MassCannabisControl.com, contact the Commission by phone (774-415-0200) or email (Commission@CCCMass.Com), or follow the agency on Facebook and Twitter.
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