Neighborhood Marijuana Dispensaries Don’t Increase Teen Use, Study Shows
A very interesting study just came out of the Journal of Adolescent Health showing a lack of association between teen use and the density of medical marijuana dispensaries near schools or the prices of their medical cannabis products in California. This further pushes back the claim that many prohibitionists state about regulated cannabis programs furthering youth use.
I personally believe that youth culture is a much larger driving factor than are prices and medical cannabis dispensaries, particularly in a place like California where cannabis has been cheap and readily accessible for decades. What people often forget is that under an illegal market cannabis is more accessible to youth than it is to any other age group. As people get older they lose their black market connections and forget that obtaining cannabis was a simple as asking the friend who you knew had some extra.
Legalization and regulation break that cycle. No longer with youth that is heavy users act as small-time dealers to subsidize their consumption. This factor means that the more legal dispensaries there are in an area the less reason illegal dealers have to operate and the further cannabis access is from young people.
Nevada And Alaska Marijuana Sales Far Exceed Projections
Marijuana moment has a great write up on the comparative adult-use tax statistics in Nevada, California, Maine, and Massachusetts. They all passed legalization on the same day but only Nevada has been successful at rolling out its program on time and meeting or exceeding tax expectations. Of course, local government officials claim it’s because they are the gold standard for effective regulation. But that’s only part of the reason. It’s really two main factors.
1. Population geography – Nevada only has two main places in the state where anyone actually lives. Regulated medical marijuana storefronts operated successfully in both those locations (Las Vegas and Reno) before adult-used passed in 2016.
2. Robust medical cannabis industry – Nevada recognized that regulating medical marijuana is almost the exact same as regulating adult-use. They had an effective program for medical and then just flipped the switch. They tweaked this around the edges and shifted the regulatory agency to the Department of Taxation but for the most part, the structure stayed the same. California never had a well regulated medical program before legalization, and Massachusetts and Maine both had small largely ineffective markets.