Toward the Legalization and Regulation of Access to Marijuana
The NSRA does not purport to have expertise on marijuana itself; however, there are similarities between tobacco and marijuana, and in the case of co-use, there is direct overlap. As such, there are lessons to be learned from 40 years of regulating tobacco and its disease vector—the tobacco industry. Our main messages are as follows:
Smoking is harmful to health. Decades have been spent legislating and educating to denormalize smoking. We are concerned that the legalization of marijuana could potentially normalize its smoking, which could in turn risk re-normalizing tobacco smoking. We also note that it is common for users to mix tobacco with cannabis and smoke them together in a variety of ways. Given the highly addictive nature of and concomitant harm posed by tobacco smoking, we are concerned that increased use of cannabis and tobacco, especially among young people, could lead to increased smoking rates.
Smoke is smoke, and exposure to any kind of smoke is harmful to heath. We have spent the past 40 years ridding workplaces and public places of secondhand tobacco smoke—we do not want to see these lifesaving laws and policies undermined by the legalization of marijuana.