Study: Licensed Cannabis Retailers Not Providing Access to Underage Patrons

Marijuana Dispensaries

Licensed cannabis retailers in California are highly compliant with the enforcement of rules prohibiting young people from entering into their facilities absent showing proof of age, according to data previously compiled by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and most recently published in the Journal of Safety Research.

Researchers assessed whether retail cannabis facilities would service pseudo-underage buyers who failed to show proof of age. All of the randomly selected retailers denied the patrons entry. 

Authors concluded: “[T]here was 100% compliance with the ID policy to keep underage patrons from purchasing marijuana directly from licensed outlets. … Underage youth are not obtaining marijuana at licensed recreational outlets.”

They further acknowledged that their findings were “consistent” with those of similar studies conducted in other legal states, such as Colorado and Oregon. Investigators theorized that the high compliance rates are because licensed establishments possess a “strong incentive … to avoid being shut down for [engaging in] illegal activity.”

Commenting on the study’s results, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said: “Regulation works. Illicit marijuana providers don’t ask for or check for ID, but licensed businesses most certainly do.”

Full text of the study, “What is the likelihood that underage youth can obtain marijuana from licensed recreational marijuana outlets in California, a state where recreational marijuana is legal,” appears in the Journal of Safety Research. Additional information is available from NORML’s Fact Sheet, ‘Societal Impacts of Cannabis Dispensaries/Retailers.’