The American Society of Addiction Medicine asked Congress Friday to oppose the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act of 2019.
In a letter to congressional leaders, ASAM said the act, which would remove cannabis from the list of substances under the Controlled Substances Act, should be replaced with a more comprehensive piece of legislation that would strike a more appropriate balance between federal and state regulations.
The organization said that while it agrees that there should be an end to the historically punitive approach to prohibiting cannabis use, there should also be a better federal role in the drug’s regulation to prevent increased use due to price declines, as well as mass marketing by large corporations.
“However, there are concerns regarding commercial models of legalization. The history of major multinational corporations using aggressive marketing strategies to increase and sustain tobacco and alcohol use illustrates the risks of corporate domination of a legalized cannabis market,” the group said in its cannabis policy statement. “Another outcome of commercial legalization may be increased use resulting from reductions in price. Commercial cannabis legalization has produced a price collapse in states that have legalized it, including Colorado, Oregon, and Washington. Research has shown that demand for cannabis is responsive to changes in its monetary price, although the responsiveness of demand varies by type of user (light, casual, regular, or heavy).”
The group said it would be willing to work with Congress and other stakeholders in drafting legislation that would give the federal government a more prominent role in cannabis regulation and would provide states that do choose to legalize cannabis have a model that protects public health.