LOS ANGELES — California prohibits children from cannabis dispensaries and shields them from cannabis marketing, but those statewide restrictions are not working as well as policymakers had hoped, according to a USC study released on Tuesday, Aug. 31.
The new study in JAMA Pediatrics evaluates how regulations designed to protect minors have held up five years after voters legalized cannabis.
The study looked at 700 licensed cannabis dispensaries in California and found that many retail locations have inadequate screening processes, which allow minors to enter and view items that should be restricted to adults 21 and over.
“Our data shows that youth can potentially be exposed to cannabis marketing and products despite California appearing to have tight laws,” said study co-author Rosalie Liccardo Pacula, a fellow at the USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics and Elizabeth Garrett Chair in Health Policy, Economics and Law at the USC Price School of Public Policy.
“As more states legalize cannabis, we need better mechanisms, including funding and agency authority for random compliance checks, to ensure that regulations are being followed — just as we did with tobacco.”
In California, dispensaries are required to screen out underage customers before they reach retail areas