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Not One California Dispensary Caught Selling to Minor, Study Shows

The perpetual myth that dispensaries are selling weed to minors refuses to die, but evidence shows this isn’t the case in California. Adult-use dispensaries are using state law to verify that the system is working.

New research disproves that marijuana dispensaries are making it more difficult for teenagers to obtain cannabis. To test whether they can get cannabis without having to present an ID to the dispensaries, researchers sent undercover patrons to California’s 50 randomly chosen dispensaries. All dispensaries involved passed the test, which researchers admitted was “somewhat surprising.”

In California, people 18-20 with a doctor’s recommendation and any adult 21 and over can purchase cannabis.

The study, entitled “What is the likelihood that underage youth can obtain marijuana from licensed recreational marijuana outlets in California, a state where recreational marijuana is legal?” was published in the Journal of Safety ResearchAvailable online starting May 18

“It appears that licensed recreational marijuana outlets in California are checking young patrons for identification of their age,” said the researchers involved in the study. “Therefore, it is unlikely that youth are purchasing marijuana directly from these outlets. You are likely to find them using other methods, including asking an adult for marijuana, getting it from older family members, or sharing the drug at parties. These sources will be difficult to monitor and control.”

According to NORML, in California, “sale or delivery of any amount of marijuana by someone who does not possess a state licensed permit is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a $500 fine.”

This data is consistent with previous research that shows that Washington and Colorado check IDs of their patrons to verify that they’re old enough.

“It was somewhat surprising that there was 100% compliance with the ID policy to keep underage patrons from purchasing marijuana directly from licensed outlets,” researchers continued. “However, that was consistent with what was observed in two other states, Washington and Colorado. One factor may be that underage youth are not allowed into the outlets—that is typically not the case at the state level for alcohol outlets.”

During 2020, youth cannabis use dropped—not increased—according to recent data. Recent data from The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration showed that teens’ past-year use of cannabis dropped by around 3%.

In addition, another research study was published. Addiction and substance useSimilar results were obtained, showing that youth use of cannabis did not rise despite states legalizing it. Many more studies reached similar results, concluding that there were no significant changes in youth or teen cannabis use after states legalized cannabis.

It is believed that regulation of cannabis dispensaries would make it less likely for youth to buy cannabis directly from street dealers. This would be the case even more if legal dispensaries that charge taxes didn’t have to compete with cheaper prices off the street.

Many states persist with the idea that dispensaries might be selling marijuana to their children.

Meanwhile, Princeton’s cannabis opponents claimed that the proposed dispensary would allow minors to have expanded access to marijuana.