SPHHS to Hold Symposium on Marijuana Legalization and Public Health

Keynote speaker Darrin Grondel

March 28, 2018

The School of Public Health and Health Sciences will host the next event in its Dean's Symposia Series, “Marijuana Legalized: Research, Practice and Policy Considerations,” with keynote speaker Darrin Grondel, director of the Washington State Traffic Safety Commission. Grondel will discuss “The Washington Experience: Drugged Driving and Marijuana Legalization.” The event is free and open to the public.

Organizer Risa Silverman, director of the Office for Public Health Practice and Outreach, says she expects about 90 people to attend, including Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission members Jennifer Flanagan and Britte McBride, as well as representatives of several city and town police departments, boards of health, library boards and prevention coordinators from around the state.

Keynote speaker Grondel has over 25 years of law enforcement and traffic safety experience with the Washington State Patrol and traffic safety commission. Since 2012, when Washington became one of the first states to legalize recreational marijuana, Grondel has been in demand as a speaker on issues and impacts of impaired and drugged driving and considerations for states addressing marijuana legalization.

Other speakers at the symposium include Cheryl Sbarra, senior staff attorney and director of policy and law for the Massachusetts Association of Health Boards. Her topic will be “On the Ground in Massachusetts: Critical Issues Arising for Cities and Towns.”

Jennifer Whitehill, assistant professor of health policy and management, will speak on “Marijuana and Driving Research: Current Knowledge, Challenges, and Opportunities.” She will also briefly outline a one-year baseline study she has been conducting with the state Department of Public Health on pre-legalization rates of marijuana use and potential impacts such as impaired driving, emergency room visits and calls to poison control.

Elizabeth Evans, assistant professor of community health education, will speak on “Gender Differences in Cannabis Use Disorders: Results from a Nationally Representative Survey.”

The event is being co-sponsored by the MA Transportation Center, which will also host an afternoon webinar with Grondel titled “Planning for the Impact of Legalized Marijuana on Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety.”

Send us your RSVP here.