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Cannabis Has Arrived: Are You Getting the Story?

A green wave is sweeping the nation, with Illinois soon to become the 11th state to fully legalize marijuana sales. More than three times as many states now allow medical marijuana. Yet big questions remain about the potential health benefits and risks of cannabis products, with little research available to guide doctors and policymakers. While nearly all Democratic presidential candidates have embraced legalization, the drug remains a controlled substance under federal law, creating a looming conflict between the patchwork of state laws and the federal government. The industry is witnessing explosive growth, with sales projected to rise from $10 billion to $80 billion over the next decade alone, driven in part by the huge interest in the potential therapeutic benefits of cannabis products. As a result, states and cities are struggling to devise regulations capable of ensuring cannabis products are safe, accurately labeled and environmentally sustainable. While a few outlets have pioneered standout coverage of these complex issues, huge reporting gaps remain. That means there are countless stories to be told at the national, state and local level about the health benefits and risks as well as the policy challenges posed by the booming cannabis industry. This webinar will offer crucial context, insights and storylines to get you started.

WHEN: Oct. 10, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. PT / 2-3 p.m. ET

REGISTER: [Now closed]


Dr. Ziva Cooper is the research director of the UCLA Cannabis Research Initiative. Her research involves understanding the therapeutic potential and adverse effects of cannabis and cannabinoids. She is president of the International Study Group Investigating Drugs as Reinforcers, a board director for the College on Problems of Drug Dependence, an associate editor of The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, and sits on several journal editorial boards, including Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research and Journal of Cannabis Research. She served on the National Academies of Sciences Committee on the health effects of cannabis, which recently published a comprehensive consensus report of the health effects of cannabis and cannabinoids. Dr. Cooper received her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 2007 in the field of preclinical psychopharmacology. At Columbia University, she focused on preclinical studies of psychoactive substances. Dr. Cooper’s research is funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Paul Demko is the cannabis editor at Politico Pro. Previously, he spent four years on the health care team, primarily covering the insurance industry. As a 2018 National Fellow, he took an in-depth look at three states pursuing divergent paths under the evolving ACA landscape. Prior to joining Politico, he was the Washington bureau chief at Modern Healthcare. Demko also spent a decade reporting in Minnesota, including stints with Politics in Minnesota and City Pages. He started his career at The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Alyson Martin is the co-founder of Cannabis Wire, which covers the global, billion-dollar cannabis industry. She co-authored the book “A New Leaf: The End of Cannabis Prohibition” with Nushin Rashidian. Martin has written for The Atlantic and The New York Times, among other publications. She is also an adjunct reporting professor at Columbia Journalism School, and has taught a course on covering cannabis for Poynter. An alumna of the Columbia Journalism School and The College of Saint Rose, Martin has previously worked for the Glens Falls Post-Star and the Ithaca Journal.
Nushin Rashidian is the co-founder of the news organization Cannabis Wire, and the co-author of the book “A New Leaf: The End of Cannabis Prohibition” (The New Press, 2014). She serves as the research lead on the “Platforms and Publishers” project at Columbia Journalism School’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism. A past Carnegie-Knight fellow, Rashidian’s work has been published in The New York Times, Nieman Reports (and Nieman Lab), Esquire, The Guardian US, Columbia Journalism Review, and CBS News, among others. She is a graduate of the Columbia Journalism School and UC Irvine.

 Webinars are free and made possible by The Commonwealth Fund and the National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation. 

Presenters' slides:

1) For Paul Demko's slides, click here.

2) For Dr. Ziva Cooper's slides, click here.

3) For Alyson Martin and Nushin Rashidian's slides, click here.

Suggested reading

Why Cannabis Coverage Needs to be a Serious Beat,” by Alyson Martin and Nushin Rashidian, Nieman Reports

U.S. awards $3 million to fill gaps in medical marijuana research,” by AP 

Former FDA commissioner says feds need to regulate marijuana,” by Sarah Owermohle, Politico

How marijuana is poised for a North American takeover,” by Lauren Gardner, Politico 

Why the most pro-marijuana Congress ever won’t deal with weed,” by Paul Demko and Natalie Fertig

Politico Pro Cannabis: The Essential Guide to Cannabis Policy

Cannabis Wire



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