Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington Marijuana Laws: Changing Environments

Handout: Closing.Keynote_Slideshow

This plenary will provide updates from each of the four states that have made recent changes to marijuana laws (CO, WA, OR, AK). Representatives from Oregon and Alaska will each give an overview of recently passed laws. Washington and Colorado representatives will provide information on the implementation of each state’s law as well as the health impacts. Following the panel presentations there is time for questions and answers.


Erin C. Flynn, MPH, Marijuana Education and Youth Prevention Coordinator, Retail Marijuana Education Program

Erin Flynn, MPH, is the Retail Marijuana Education and Youth Prevention Coordinator in the Prevention Services Division at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
Erin provides technical assistance and subject matter expertise on the public health approach to marijuana education and youth prevention in Colorado. Prior to this position, she worked for NASPA|Student Affairs Professionals in Higher Education, providing technical assistance and trainings for Colorado colleges and universities on drug and alcohol education.


Sarah Mariani, CPP, Behavioral Health Administrator, Division of Behavioral Health And Recovery, Washington State Department of Social and Health Services

Sarah Mariani currently serves as the Behavioral Health Administrator overseeing substance abuse prevention, mental health promotion, and screening and brief intervention and referral to treatment services for the Washington State Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery. Before joining state government, she was the Executive Director for a program to prevent youth violence and substance abuse. Sarah worked as a community organizer for over fifteen years including coalition-building, strategic planning, and training.
Sarah began working for the state of Washington in 2006 and has contributed to the development of multiple substance abuse prevention and mental health promotion initiatives for the state. Including as part of her work to support workforce development, Sarah created the first of its kind, Washington State online professional development platform that includes interactive content as well as online courses for the prevention professionals in the state.
Currently, she focuses on strategic planning, data and program evaluation, and policy development. Sarah is the co-chair for the State Prevention Enhancement Policy Consortium that oversees the five-year strategic plan for substance use disorders prevention and mental health promotion. For the last three years, Sarah has been one of the leaders in the state of Washington focused on prevention of marijuana misuse and abuse.


Anthony Piper, NPN, Alaska, Conference Host State and Acting Prevention Manager, Division of Behavioral Health, Department of Health and Social Services

Tony has worked in the field of Behavioral Health for over 25 years including in-patient mental health and substance abuse, residential, and in out-patient settings as a youth worker, counselor, and therapist before joining the prevention and early intervention team with the state of Alaska.
Tony is currently the Acting Prevention Manager as well as Managing the Alcohol Safety Action Program or ASAP. ASAP oversees the monitoring of misdemeanor alcohol and drug offenders as well as the case management and community supervision of several Therapeutic Courts around the state. As the Prevention Manager, Tony is responsible for several statewide efforts including; suicide prevention, FASD, underage drinking, and re-entry efforts of the division. Tony is a Licensed Profession Counselor, has a Master’s of Science in Counseling Psychology, and is working on his Ph.D. in Psychology with an emphasis in social transformation.


Jeff Ruscoe, Ed.M., CPS, NPN, Oregon State and Prevention Team Lead, Addictions and Mental Health Division, Oregon Health Authority

Jeff Ruscoe, EdM, CPS, currently serves as the Prevention Team Lead for the Public Health Division of the Oregon Health Authority. He serves as the National Prevention Network Representative for Oregon, was the State Synar Coordinator for 17 years and spent 11 years as the coordinator of the state’s Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws (EUDL) program. In addition, Jeff monitors county prevention contracts and provides training and technical assistance to county and tribal prevention providers across the state.


Leslie Walker, M.D., Professor and Vice Chair of Faculty Affairs, Department of Pediatrics and Chief, Division of Adolescent Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle Children’s Hospital

Dr. Leslie Walker is a Professor and Vice Chair of Faculty Affairs in the Department of Pediatrics and Chief of the Division of Adolescent Medicine at the University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital. She is the co-director of Seattle Children’s Adolescent Substance Abuse Program (ASAP). She is also director of the Maternal and Child Health funded multidisciplinary training program for Leadership in Adolescent Health (LEAH) where nurses, doctors dieticians, social workers and psychologist learn together how to be leaders in Adolescent Health.
Her research has been focused on adolescent risk behaviors spanning adolescent and young adult substance abuse and ADHD to adolescent pregnancy prevention. Diversity in the workforce of health providers and eliminating health disparities has also been a national focus of hers. She has publications both in adolescent and young adult health, improving excellence in health care and research by increasing workforce diversity.
She is a Past President of the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine and has served on numerous national boards. Her service on national boards and local community projects is all aimed at improving the health and well being of adolescents and young adults nationally and globally. She was recently appointed to the American Academy of Pediatrics nation al committee on substance abuse (COSA). She has appeared regularly on NPR and other local and national media outlets speaking most recently on legalization of marijuana and how it will affect youth.
She grew up in San Jose California and attended college at Stanford University and medical school at the University of Illinois and then competed her pediatrics training at the University of Chicago and Adolescent Medicine specialty training at the University of California San Francisco. Prior to coming to Seattle she directed the Adolescent Medicine program at Georgetown University.
She is married to Eldridge Harding and Nicole Prothro is her young adult daughter in living in NY.