NEW YORK, Nov. 9, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Columbia Care LLC ("CC"), the nation's leading medical marijuana product development, manufacturing and distribution company, today issued the following statement from CEO Nicholas Vita in response to voters' decision to legalize marijuana for recreational use in California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada and for medical use in Florida, Arkansas and North Dakota: "The passage of four recreational and three medical marijuana initiatives reflects a change in the perception of the benefits and risks associated with marijuana programs in the United States. We believe it is critical for the federal government to acknowledge this new reality. It is time for the federal government to enable new, long-term comprehensive scientific studies that evaluate marijuana's health implications, benefits and potential societal risks. "As of this week, the issue facing the nation is no longer whether we will legalize marijuana. The issue now is whether we will make the decision to have a robust, well informed, data driven debate to assess the benefits and risks of a drug that is available to millions of Americans every day. "As the nation's leading medical marijuana company, Columbia Care has seen first-hand that marijuana and marijuana-derived formulated products offer a natural and highly effective palliative medication that has benefited hundreds of thousands of patients around the country. Marijuana has not been independently vetted in rigorous scientific and policy forums, leading to uncertainties, lingering concerns and too many important unanswered questions. These are questions and issues that deserve to be addressed and can be best answered through well-funded, independent government research. "Our mission is to improve lives and the communities we serve. Political outcomes do not impact our enduring commitment to manufacture pharmaceutical-quality products, offer the highest levels of personalized customer care and leverage innovation to improve patient access, reduce product cost and enhance efficacy. We look forward to adopting the new rules and regulations to be issued by our state regulators and local municipalities to best serve our stakeholders."