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The Expansion of Legalized Marijuana

This Policy Brief examines the continued expansion of legalized access to marijuana and changes in public opinion in favor of marijuana liberalization. The brief posits that, in light of this extraordinary movement, government at all levels must turn its attention to being proactive rather than reactive by adopting a systems approach to regulating this new industry and designing programs and policies that protect the public health and safety. This brief presents a number of questions that researchers should seek to answer as part of a national research agenda to close the “knowledge gap” between the pace that legalization is occurring and the extent of available knowledge on its potential effects on drug use, public health, and public safety. 

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Coca Cultivation Makes a Comeback in Colombia

This Policy Brief presents data from the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) demonstrating increased coca cultivation in Colombia. The brief questions whether the United States is the target for this new coca, but notes that our diminished ability to detect emerging drug trends renders this an unanswerable question. Ultimately, the brief seeks to raise public awareness of the Colombian cultivation and offers suggestions for improving the detection of emerging drug trends, particularly with respect to cocaine. The brief presents "obvious" next steps -- (1) Funding the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring (ADAM) Program, (2) Restoring ONDCP's Research Funding, and (3) Dedicating Funds for Quest Diagnostic Workplace Drug Testing Data-- as well as more controversial next steps. 

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Regulating Marijuana in California

On April 7, 2016, the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), released a report titled "Regulating Marijuana in California." Authored by Patrick Murphy and John Carnevale, the report concludes that, if California legalizes recreational marijuana, the state should develop a single highly regulated marijuana market-- for medical and recreational uses. The report analyzes the regulatory approaches taken by Washington and Colorado-- the first two states to legalize recreational marijuana-- to help California learn from their experiences. 

The report does not address the wisdom of marijuana legalization but looks at how to design regulations that reconcile important but differing policy goals, including: 

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The ACA and Criminal Justice Reentry Populations

Published in February 2015, this whitepaper examines the opportunities and challenges presented by the Affordable Care Act (the ACA) for criminal justice reentry.

An estimated 6.89 million individuals were under the supervision of adult correctional systems in 2013, 4.75 million under community supervision, 1.57 million in prison, and roughly 731,000 housed in local jails on any given day. With millions more passing through local jails every year, people flowing through the criminal justice system are less likely to have health coverage and often have significant healthcare needs. Yet while the criminal justice system accounts for only a small percentage of the U.S. population, an estimated 14% of residents with HIV, 33% of those with Hepatitis-C, and 40% of those with tuberculosis pass through correctional facilities, while 40% of men and nearly 60% of women in jail have at least one chronic health condition. According to numerous studies, healthcare disruptions when these individuals reenter the community have been found to lead to increased rates or re-incarceration, worse healthcare outcomes, and more costly care.

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The Affordable Care Act: Opportunities & Challenges for Behavioral Health Providers

This Information Brief examines the opportunities and challenges for behavioral health providers under the Affordable Care Act (the ACA). With a particular focus on substance abuse, this brief considers three challenges: (1) The ACA Coverage Gap, (2) Providers' Lack of ACA Knowledge and Strategic Plans, and (3) The Need for Client Outreach & Enrollment. The brief offers solutions to providers' practical problems and calls attention to policy issues that require additional consideration or research.    

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