PIRE Publication - The new cannabis policy taxonomy on APIS: Making sense of the cannabis policy universe

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism's Alcohol Policy Information System (APIS) is, for the first time, adding legal data pertaining to recreational cannabis use to its current offerings on alcohol policy. Now that Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and the District of Columbia have legalized aspects of recreational cannabis, and more states are considering it, there is an urgency to provide high-quality, multi-dimensional legal data to the public health community. This article introduces the Cannabis Policy Taxonomy recently posted on APIS, and explores its theoretical and empirical contributions to the substance abuse literature and its potential for use in policy research. We also present results of interviews with public health experts in alcohol and cannabis policy, which sought to determine the most important variables to address in the initial release of cannabis policy data. From this process, we found that pricing controls emerged as the variable singled out by the largest number of experts. This analysis points to a host of vital policies that are of increasing importance to public health policy scholars and their current and future research.

Klitzner, M. D.
Thomas, S.
Schuler, J.
Hilton, M.
Mosher, J.