Study: Marijuana Retailers Not Selling to Underage Customers

16 December 2019

by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy DirectorDecember 11, 2019

Licensed cannabis retailers in Colorado and Washington are highly compliant with state laws refusing the sale of products to minors, according to data published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

A team of investigators assessed whether licensed retail cannabis facilities would sell to pseudo-underage buyers who failed to show proof of age.

Researchers reported, “Compliance with laws restricting stores to selling recreational marijuana to individuals 21 or older presenting a valid ID was high. … Refusal rates exceeded those for alcohol.”

They concluded: “The high compliance in this study suggests that recreational marijuana stores may not be selling directly to underage youth on premises very often. … There are several explanations for this high compliance. Regulators in both states worked with the industry, performed compliance checks, and penalized stores that failed. Store management may have closely monitored store personnel and checked that they complied with age and ID regulations because licenses are valuable and revenues are sizable. The recreational marijuana industry also may want to avoid any appearance that they are selling to minors to avoid increased federal scrutiny and controls.”

The findings are similar to those of prior compliance check studies performed in California, Colorado, and New Mexico, which also determined, “Compliance with laws restricting marijuana sales to individuals age 21 years or older with a valid ID was extremely high.”

The abstract of the study, “Compliance with personal ID regulations by recreational marijuana stores in two U.S. states,” is online here.

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