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HHS Region 10, State Cannabis Policies and Regulations: A Guidance Document for Northwest Substance Misuse Prevention Practitioners
HHS Region 10, State Cannabis Policies and Regulations: A Guidance Document for Northwest Substance Misuse Prevention Practitioners
September 9, 2020

The purpose of this document is to provide the prevention workforce in Federal Region 10 states (Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington) with information that supports the following: 

  • Prevention of youth cannabis use
  • Prevention of adult cannabis misuse (heavy use and/or risky behaviors) 

The information in this tool is intended to support capacity development specifically within the prevention workforce by increasing understanding of cannabis regulatory frameworks and policies that can affect prevention of youth cannabis use and harms. This includes by answering questions that Region 10’s prevention workforce may have: 

What is cannabis regulation? This report provides information so stakeholders understand who makes policies and what kinds of policies are included in each of the four Region 10 states.

Why are specific policies important for prevention? Key components of cannabis regulatory frameworks, and how each is relevant to prevention, are discussed. Because cannabis regulation is so new, some of what we think is important for prevention is related to research about regulations for tobacco and alcohol.

What is in place in my community right now, and is it good enough? This section describes the current status of each state’s prevention-related cannabis regulations as of June 30, 2020.  Important considerations in assessing regulatory content and advocating for prevention-supportive approaches include how regulations affect vulnerable populations and the potential for unintended consequences. Notably, some local areas (cities, counties, boroughs, or villages) have already passed additional regulations; these are not included in the scope of the report, however, understanding specific state regulations, including what additional regulation is allowed locally, is a starting point for assessing the status in any specific community.

What other options exist? The existing regulations in other states may offer ideas about what is possible to strengthen cannabis regulations. This report also discusses potential policies from research on tobacco and alcohol.

What comes next? Within the discussion about regulatory areas, emerging regulatory issues are also identified. These are topics that community advocates may want to anticipate and become prepared to address, whether they are intended to strengthen or weaken regulations.