Track 1 - Public Health Law and Policy
Sharing Session - 60 Minutes
C7 - Local Public Health’s Role in Monitoring the Impact of Marijuana Policy Changes
Wednesday, July 11
10:15 AM - 11:15 AM
Colorado legalized medical marijuana use in 2001, with the commercialization of medical marijuana in 2009. In 2014, retail marijuana use was legalized in Colorado. With legalization, the City and County of Denver formed the Denver Office of Marijuana Policy to oversee all aspects of marijuana legalization. To assess the health impact of marijuana use, Denver Public Health (DPH) was charged with developing the infrastructure and tools needed to monitor trends in marijuana use and align efforts with other local and state partners. Since 2014, DPH has been developing a plan for aligning data analysis and reporting efforts with other local and state partners, and developing and maintaining a set of electronic Business Intelligence tools to collect, analyze, monitor, and compare data from a variety of sources concerning marijuana use and abuse. To date, surveillance systems have been developed in a number of key areas:
• Monthly monitoring using syndromic surveillance/ESSENCE of potential marijuana-related emergency department visits at participating hospitals;
• A dashboard of marijuana calls to the Rocky Mountain Poison Center; and
• Annual monitoring of Colorado Hospital Association discharge data of emergency departments and hospitalizations related to marijuana.
Recently, we expanded efforts by including regional partners to assess impacts in the metro region of Denver and compare to other substances (alcohol and opioids). Assessing health impacts over time with changes in marijuana policy and its relationship to other substances with surveillance tools provides needed information to understand the impact of policy changes.
Public Health Laws & Policies, Assess & Monitor, Evaluation