Given that the cannabis industry is relatively new, many individuals are well aware of the stringent compliance protocols associated with cannabis. To prevent underage customers from accessing products, cannabis sellers in the United States must comply with various regulations set by state cannabis authorities, including verification of the customer’s identity.
According to a study published in the journal Addictive Behaviors, there is new insight into how this can be done Dispensaries adhere to regulations. The study discovered that adult-use retailers in five US cities were in full compliance with laws that require customers to show evidence and specify a legal age.
In the abstract, the study authors explained that observation Hashing cannabis is imperative to making regulations and protecting consumers as the industry continues to grow in the United States. The study conducted point-of-sale assessments to assess adherence to regulatory compliance, including signage, age verification, promotional tactics, products, and pricing.
Cannabis Compliance: Warning Signs, Identity Checks, and Appeals to Minors.
During the summer of 2022, a group of researchers associated with the Milken Institute of Public Health at George Washington University conducted point-of-sale evaluations. The survey included 150 randomly selected recreational dispensaries in five cities, with an audit of 30 dispensaries in each city. Cities included Los Angeles, Denver, Portland, Las Vegas, and Seattle.
The study revealed that age verification compliance rates were high and exceeded 90%. In addition, the majority of retailers had signs indicating limited access (87.3%), prohibition of selling to minors (53.3%), and on-site consumption (73.3%). Most sellers also offered warnings about cannabis use while breastfeeding and during pregnancy (72%), followed by effects on children and teens (18.7%), then health risks (38%), and drink-driving (14%). .
On the other hand, a proportion of retailers offered health claims about cannabis (28.7%), while others had products with “youth-oriented packaging” (18%) or “youth-oriented signage” (20.7%).
Marketing results, banners and other products
In addition, the study examined other types of information that are commonly displayed and promoted in dispensaries. Price promotions were most prevalent, particularly in terms of special price offers (75.3%), followed by daily, weekly, and monthly offers (66.7%) and banners related to membership programs (39.3%).
Nearly a quarter of dispensaries surveyed had advertisements and promotions regarding curbside delivery/pickup (28%) and/or online ordering (25.3%). Moreover, website and social media promotions were present in 64.7% of the stores surveyed. Finally, the researchers looked at the range of products offered by retailers. E-liquids (38%) and oils (24.7%) were the most popular cannabis products, while food items (53%) were the most commonly offered and considered the least effective products.
The study found that the most expensive products offered by dispensaries were flowers and buds (58%), while connections (54%) were the cheapest. Moreover, more than 81% of the retailers sold vaporizers, rolling papers and glassware, such as hookahs, water pipes and bongs. Additionally, 22.6% of dispensaries sell CBD products.
The results reflect previous compliance data
According to investigators, marketing tactics varied across cities, indicating discrepancies in state-specific regulations as well as differences in implementation and compliance. The findings highlight the need for continued monitoring of the cannabis trade to inform future enforcement and regulatory actions.
When reviewing the results of the study, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armignano confirmed that the regulation is working. In a blog post for NORML, Armentano states that unlicensed marijuana providers do not ask for or verify identification, but licensed companies certainly do. He added that the actual implementation of marijuana legalization in various states shows that these policies can be enforced to provide legal access to adults while preventing juvenile access and abuse.
The findings regarding compliance with age verification are in line with previous studies. For example, a study from 2022 that examined the California market found that dispensaries strictly adhere to an identity policy, with all randomly selected retailers achieving full compliance.
According to the authors, recreational marijuana establishments licensed in California appear to refrain from selling marijuana to minors. One explanation for this may be the strong incentive of the owners and managers of these establishments to avoid illegal activities that might lead to their closure.
The aforementioned study also suggested that cannabis regulators and law enforcement officials should conduct research to examine whether minors are trying to enter cannabis retailers with fake IDs. They must also determine whether minors are obtaining cannabis through illegal outlets or other means.
In August 2022, the Colorado Division of Marijuana Law Enforcement released a bulletin revealing that of more than 190 compliance checks that employed underage activists, only four companies in the state sold cannabis to these individuals, indicating a compliance rate of 98%.
Comparative studies conducted in other states where cannabis is legal, such as Colorado, have reported similar results.
As reported in a February report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of high school students who report regular cannabis use has declined gradually over the past 10 years.
The studies and reports discussed above indicate that licensed cannabis retailers in the United States largely comply with regulations intended to prevent minors from accessing cannabis. High rates of age verification and restricted entry signs in dispensaries across different cities indicate that regulations can be implemented effectively to reduce access and abuse of young people while providing regulated access for adults.
However, studies also stress the need for continued application and monitoring to ensure continued compliance. Monitoring and regulating the advertising and marketing methods and product selection in dispensaries will be necessary as the cannabis sector evolves to prevent attracting audiences under the age of 18.
In addition to these regulatory and enforcement efforts, it is essential to continue educating the public about the potential risks and benefits of cannabis use. Education can help prevent the abuse of cannabis by both youth and adults and ensure that those who choose to use cannabis do so safely and responsibly.