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

Regulation of Cannabis-Infused Edibles

Policy BriefSubstance Use Prevention and Harm ReductionMarijuana Legalization

August 4, 2020
by Mathew R. Swinburne

A number of states have passed laws permitting the cultivation, sale, and use of cannabis. Many also allow cannabis-infused edibles to be manufactured, sold, and consumed. Cannabis edibles present a unique set of public health challenges including risk of ingestion by children and risk of acute intoxication due to delayed onset of the effects of cannabis when consumed as an edible. To address the public health challenges of dosing, attractiveness to children, and food safety, this survey examines eight pertinent variables.

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Matching Supply and Demand: Connecting Farms with Food Banks for Hunger Relief During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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

May 5, 2020
by Mathew R. Swinburne

The devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in over 26 million Americans filing unemployment claims. This rising level of unemployment will push America further into a food security crisis. The USDA’s most recent food security report, published in September of 2019, indicated that 37.2 million Americans were food insecure. Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, estimates that the COVID-19 pandemic will force an additional 17.1 million Americans into food insecurity.

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Marijuana Delivery: California’s Looming Legal Battle

Law & Policy InsightsMarijuana Legalization

February 12, 2020
by Mathew R. Swinburne

As more states legalize medical and recreational marijuana use, they are being confronted with a broad spectrum of policy issues. One of the emerging issues is whether to allow the legal cannabis industry to deliver marijuana directly to customers. Advocates see it as an issue of access, especially for medical marijuana patients. Opponents argue that delivery will make it easier for kids to get marijuana and that the delivery vehicles will be targeted by criminals.

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How Proposed SNAP Regulations Could Threaten Food Security for Millions of Children

Law & Policy InsightsFood Safety and SecurityFood Security

November 7, 2019
by Mathew R. Swinburne

Approximately 37 million Americans lack dependable access to enough food to live healthy lives. The health effects of food insecurity are particularly pronounced for children, putting them at increased risk for mental health disorders, chronic disease and impaired cognitive development. Current proposed changes to the Federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which provides qualifying households with funds to purchase food, would put millions of children at risk of experiencing ongoing food insecurity.

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Making Sure Kids are Healthy Enough to Learn: Innovations in Education Law and Policy

WebinarsNational School Lunch ProgramFood Safety and SecurityHealth in SchoolMechanisms for Advancing Public Health

September 26, 2019
by Kerri McGowan Lowrey and Mathew R. Swinburne

Education has emerged as a social determinant of health in its own right. More highly educated individuals are healthier and tend to live longer; they also are at less risk of smoking, drug abuse, accidents and chronic diseases. Despite federal laws that guarantee all children a free appropriate public education, major inequities exist.

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Providing Policy Expertise as Maryland Explores the Challenges of Recreational Marijuana Legalization

Law & Policy InsightsMarijuana LegalizationSubstance Use Prevention and Harm Reduction

August 28, 2019
by Mathew R. Swinburne

Many states allow for license suspension for non-payment of fees and fines for traffic offenses. These suspensions often have significant health impacts, some of which seem obvious—people need transportation to access medical care. But a closer look reveals a plethora of other negative consequences that impact public health.

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