The naysayers of marijuana legalization often argue that bringing the cannabis plant out of the black market will lead to more underage use, but a new report finds that taxed and regulated pot markets may actually be working to prevent teenagers from getting their hands on the herb.
According to the latest Journal of Studies of Alcohol and Drugs, marijuana businesses operating in legal marijuana states are doing their part to prevent teen marijuana consumption by adhering to strict policies that prevent them from selling cannabis products to minors.
The report finds that licensed marijuana retailers have been doing a good job – and in some cases better than the liquor stores -- when it comes to making sure customers show proof of age before entering a dispensary.
“Compliance with laws restricting marijuana sales to individuals age 21 years or older with a valid ID was extremely high and possibly higher than compliance with restrictions on alcohol sales,” the study authors wrote.
Researchers concluded that, “the retail market at present may not be a direct source of marijuana for underage individuals,” which is consistent with the outcome of other studies that show children are not using more marijuana since the dawn of legalization.
In fact, a couple of studies published in the journal Substance Use & Misuse and the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence did not find any correlation between legal marijuana sales and kids gaining access to marijuana.
This is great news for the four states – California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada – that passed marijuana legalization initiatives in last Tuesday’s election, allowing them to operate a cannabis trade similar to what is currently underway in Colorado.
If all goes according to plan, those jurisdictions could soon experience an overall decrease in youth marijuana consumption, the same as Colorado reported happening in July of this year.
“The survey shows marijuana use has not increased since legalization, with four of five high school students continuing to say they don’t use marijuana, even occasionally," according to the Colorado Health Department.
In legal marijuana states, adults 21 and over are the only people allowed to even step foot inside a retail pot shop.