Politics & Policy

Avoiding Cannabis Chaos: Better Policies and Strategies for a Legal Market

Seminar Complete!

Congratulations, you've completed this seminar. Let your friends and coworkers know!


Legalizing cannabis was supposed to undercut drug cartels and ensure a well-regulated market for what was once known as the devil’s weed. But in the years since the industry was legalized in certain states, there has been growing concern about corruption, crime, environmental degradation and allegations of labor abuse. Furthermore, an explosion of high-potency products, from vapes to gummies to ice cream, is raising health concerns.

In this seminar co-hosted by the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy and the USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics, distinguished experts debate how to better regulate this new market so that consumers are protected and the industry operates on the up-and-up.

The panel features Jim McDonnell, director of the USC Price Safe Communities Institute and former Los Angeles County sheriff; Rosalie Liccardo Pacula, the Elizabeth Garrett Chair in Health Policy, Economics and Law at USC Price and senior fellow at the USC Schaeffer Center; Mona Zhang, states cannabis policy reporter for Politico. It is moderated by Mireille Jacobson, co-director of the Aging and Cognition Program at the USC Schaeffer Center and associate professor at USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology.

Who Will Benefit

– Those hoping to learn more about the current issues plaguing cannabis regulation
– Policy experts looking for deeper insights on how to address cannabis health concerns
– Those seeking the latest updates surrounding the cannabis industry

About Our Featured Faculty

Jim McDonnell is the director of the USC Price Safe Communities Institute. McDonnell brings more than 40 years of public safety experience to the school’s Safe Communities Institute, which advances public safety solutions. He is the first person to serve in senior executive leadership roles in the three largest policing agencies in Los Angeles County: the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD); the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD); and the Long Beach Police Department (LBPD). McDonnell has close ties to the USC Price School, where he earned a master’s degree in public administration and serves as a member of the school’s Board of Councilors. He previously obtained a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire. He’s also a graduate of the FBI’s National Executive Institute and has completed executive education programs at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Mireille Jacobson, PhD, is an applied micro-economist with a diverse portfolio of research united by an interest in understanding how health care policies and incentives in health care markets affect well-being. Jacobson is an associate professor at USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, co-director of the program on aging at USC’s Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics, and a research associate in the Health Care Program at the National Bureau of Economic Research. She is also a member of the National Advisory Council for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Rosalie Liccardo Pacula, PhD, holds the Elizabeth Garrett Chair in Health Policy, Economics and Law at the USC Price School of Public Policy and is a senior fellow with the USC Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics, where she co-directs the RAND-USC Schaeffer Opioid Policy Tools and Information Center of Excellence (OPTIC) in addition to leading numerous National Institute of Health funded studies examining the impact of federal, state and local laws on the supply, demand and access to treatment for intoxicating substances. Pacula is a graduate from the Santa Clara University and received her doctorate in economics from Duke University.