Lessons Learned About Legalized Marijuana from Colorado’s Chief Medical Officer

Article by Amanda Pfeffer, CBC News

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As a pediatrician, Dr. Larry Wolk was trained to treat marijuana as “bad” and “illegal” — and to counsel patients against using it.

And that his history shaped the way he approached the introduction of legal marijuana as Colorado’s chief medical officer, he said.

“I think I came into this with some biases as a result of our culture, prior to legalization,” he told CBC News.

But nearly three years after legalization in Colorado, he said his thinking changed at each turn.

On almost every measure, whether it was rates of hospitalizations, consumption among teens and adults, or collisions related to marijuana, the pattern was the same: an initial increase, and then long term stabilization with no increase from the rates prior to legalization in January 2014.

“And so to say I wasn’t surprised would not be honest,” Wolk said. “I have to say I was surprised but I also learned a lot about making sure in these kind of roles, like I’m in, that you park those biases and you stay objective.”

Wolk was in Ottawa earlier this month to meet with Health Canada officials from across the country — and share lessons learned from the Colorado experience as Canada gets set take its own journey down the path of marijuana legalization next year.

Read full article here.

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