Proliferation of marijuana outlets, whether recreational or medical, has the potential for a serious negative impact on the health and safety of communities, and youth in particular. Therefore, it is important to consider regulations that can address these problems. Research on the effective regulation of legal products indicates the following restrictions are recommended to minimize youth access and use:
Restricting and carefully monitoring licenses and licensees. Licensing provisions that are actively enforced through regular random compliance checks in which violators, such as those that sell to minors, are subject to meaningful penalties (including license suspension and revocation) create a culture of compliance among marijuana licensees.
Restricting density of marijuana outlets. Decades of research on alcohol and tobacco use demonstrate the need for strong controls on the density of businesses, and the physical availability of medical marijuana dispensaries is similarly related to the prevalence and frequency of marijuana use1. Density restrictions on the number of businesses that can locate in a given area prevent clustering of marijuana outlets in our neighborhoods.
Banning or limiting delivery services. Marijuana delivery services have been found to circumvent community efforts to limit marijuana accessand present serious concerns for monitoring and enforcement of regulations intended to prevent youth access and other public health protections.
Restricting where businesses can be located. Marijuana-related businesses should not be located near areas youth frequent such as schools, parks, and playgrounds.
Requiring licensing and inspections for cultivation. Ideally, property proposed as a site for personal use marijuana cultivation should be subject to an inspection and approval process taking into account ways children may be exposed to the crop and other concerns such as theft, water/electricity usage, and the potential for nuisance to neighbors and property owners.
Freisthler, B., & Gruenewald, P. J. (2014). Examining the relationship between the physical availability of medical marijuana and marijuana use across fifty California cities. Drug and alcohol dependence, 143, 244-250..