Mathew R. Swinburne, J.D., is associate director of the Network’s Eastern Region Office. Mathew has 10 years of experience in public health law and policy.  His work currently focuses on issues of food safety and security, injury prevention, chronic disease, environmental health, and cannabis policy.

Mathew was a Leadership Scholar at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, where he graduated Order of the Coif and magna cum laude in 2008. While at law school, he worked as a judicial intern for the Honorable Richard S. Bernhardt of the Circuit Court for Howard County and as a summer associate for Venable LLP. Mathew also participated in the law school’s Tobacco Control Clinic, advocating for state legislation regarding the tax rate of little cigars. After law school, Mathew worked as a commercial litigation associate for Venable. After leaving Venable, Mathew served as a law and policy analyst at the Center for Health and Homeland Security (CHHS). At CHHS, Mathew worked on cyber-security issues, emergency response resource gap analysis, and public health emergency response programs. Mathew is admitted to practice law in Maryland.

Prior to attending law school, Mathew worked for the American Red Cross in Montgomery County, Maryland. During his tenure, he served as the Director of Volunteer Services, Director of Health and Safety Services, and Interim Executive Director. As a member of the Red Cross, Mathew also participated in the 9/11, D.C. Sniper, and Hurricane Isabel disaster relief operations.

Articles & Resources

Social Justice Policies in New York’s Cannabis Legalization

Law & Policy InsightsMarijuana LegalizationMechanisms for Advancing Health Equity

October 20, 2021
by Mathew R. Swinburne

Earlier this year, New York legalized adult-use (recreational) cannabis with the Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act.  While it’s now legal for adults to possess cannabis, there are no retail establishments permitted to sell adult-use cannabis. The State is in the process of developing regulations for this new industry and the adult-use market is expected to be operational in late 2022. While New York is focused on creating a safe and efficient industry, it is also incorporating social justice measures, including restorative justice and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) policies into its new cannabis system.

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Cannabis Voter Initiatives Meet Opposition in State Courts

Law & Policy InsightsMarijuana Legalization

August 25, 2021
by Mathew R. Swinburne

During the 2020 election cycle, several states utilized voter initiatives to legalize medical and/or adult-use cannabis. While these policy changes align with the nation’s changing perception of cannabis, voter initiatives have met serious legal opposition. Three of these court  cases in particular emphasize the need to understand state constitutional restrictions on voter initiatives and the impact these restrictions can have on the success of an initiative.

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The Federal Food and Drug Administration and the Future of Food Safety

Law & Policy InsightsFood and Housing Insecurity MeasuresFood Safety and SecurityFood Security

June 1, 2021
by Mathew R. Swinburne

The New Era of Smarter Food Safety Initiative released by the agency in June of 2020 serves as the blueprint for the FDA’s approach to food safety over the next decade. While it builds on the foundation created by the 2010 Food Safety Modernization Act, the Initiative represents a new approach to food safety that will leverage technology and data to create a safer food system.

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As Children Transition to In-Person Learning, USDA Announces Important Measures to Ensure Food Security and Safety of Students

Law & Policy InsightsFood Safety and SecurityHealth in School

April 29, 2021
by Mathew R. Swinburne

During the COVID-19 pandemic, food insecurity has skyrocketed. It is estimated that in 2021, 42 million Americans have lacked sufficient food to lead healthy lives. This parallel pandemic of hunger deeply affects America’s children with an estimated 12 million children experiencing food insecurity. Prior to the pandemic the free and reduced-price school meal programs were critical tools for addressing food insecurity, serving an estimated 22 million children. A recent study out of Tufts University found that school meals were the most nutritious source of food for most American school children, further emphasizing the critical nature of these programs. The need for these important programs has only grown with the challenges created by COVID-19.

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National Minority Health Month: Raising Awareness and Encouraging Action to Address Health Disparities

Law & Policy InsightsCOVID-19 and Health EquityMechanisms for Advancing Health Equity

April 21, 2021
by April Shaw, Carrie McLachlan, Dawn Hunter and Mathew R. Swinburne

Several universities across the U.S. have announced plans to require students to receive a COVID-19 vaccination before heading back to campus for the fall semester. Brown, Cornell, Duke, Northeastern, and Rutgers are among them. Some institutions of higher learning, like Virginia Tech, have determined that they cannot require vaccinations because of the vaccine’s Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) status, but this stance rests on shaky legal grounds.

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The Biden Administration’s Response to the Food Insecurity Crisis

OverviewFood and Housing Insecurity MeasuresFood Safety and SecurityFood Security

February 23, 2021
by Mathew R. Swinburne

Across the country, state and local governments, nonprofits, religious organizations, community groups and dedicated individuals are working to address growing food insecurity. President Biden has committed to addressing the mounting hunger crisis as part of his plan for recovery. This policy overview identifies what actions the Biden administration has taken to-date and what we might expect to see in the future.

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Judicial Trends in Public Health 2020: Year in Review

WebinarsJudicial Trends in Public Health

January 19, 2021
by Brooke Torton, James G. Hodge, Jr., Jennifer Piatt, Kathleen Hoke, Kerri McGowan Lowrey, Leila Barraza, Mathew R. Swinburne and Sarah Wetter

Join Network attorneys as they highlight their top choices for pivotal, influential judicial decisions over the past year on topics including emergency legal preparedness, religious freedoms, reproductive rights, food insecurity, health justice, and the future of the ACA.

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Cannabis and the 2020 Election: Americans’ Changing Views on Legalization

Law & Policy InsightsCivic Engagement and VotingMarijuana Legalization

December 3, 2020
by Mathew R. Swinburne

Even though cannabis is still illegal under federal law; most Americans (91 percent) favor the legalization of cannabis either for medical or recreational use. This is a serious change in public opinion. In 2010, 52 percent of Americans opposed the legalization of cannabis. This more accepting view of cannabis appeared in the 2020 election, with five states legalizing cannabis through ballot measures. With the legalization trend, it is important to understand the legal process behind the ballot measures that have been central to changing state cannabis laws.

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Q&A: Using SNAP to Address Food Insecurity during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Law & Policy InsightsFood and Housing Insecurity MeasuresFood Security

September 10, 2020
by Mathew R. Swinburne

In this Q&A, the Network’s Mathew Swinburne discusses some of the key elements in the chapter he authored for the recently released report, Assessing Legal Responses to COVID-19, in which he examines how policies are being changed and leveraged to help address the devastating food insecurity associated with the pandemic.

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