NAADAC Releases Position Statement on the Decriminalization and Legalization of Cannabis

NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals, has released a position statement on the decriminalization and legalization of cannabis use across the United States. NAADAC periodically releases position statements discussing NAADAC’s stance on specific issues, and this paper is part of a multi-part series exploring NAADAC’s position on cannabis.

NAADAC represents the professional interests of more than 100,000 addiction counselors, educators and other addiction-focused health care professionals in the United States, Canada and abroad. NAADAC’s members are addiction counselors, educators and other addiction-focused health care professionals, who specialize in addiction prevention, treatment, recovery support and education.

NAADAC supports the decriminalization of cannabis, which would remove criminal consequences for use or possession and allow cannabis to remain illegal, but the penalties for possession would be much less harsh than under current laws and include imposing fines, drug education, treatment, or no penalty at all. While NAADAC recognizes that states are increasingly legalizing cannabis, at this time it cannot support measures that would widely promote the use of an addictive substance by the general public and therefore stands against legalization.

NAADAC has also outlined various cannabis policy recommendations to take into consideration as numerous states are undergoing the legalization process for cannabis. NAADAC strongly urges the federal government and individual states to consider the recommendations discussed in this paper before implementing any change to the criminal or legal status of cannabis. Strict regulation and control of substances would help ease the burden that would be placed on vulnerable populations if cannabis is legalized. This will also create a sustainable, regulated system that achieves a balance between the health of our communities and the economic prosperity of the growing cannabis industry.

To read the full position paper, please click here or visit

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