California Study Shows Licensed Cannabis Shops Don’t Sell to Minors
Compliance is crucial in Cali’s cannabis sector, and one of the main motivations of strict regulation is to keep cannabis out of the hands of children. According to a new study commissioned by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, this is where California’s licensed marijuana shops excel.
A promise was made: to keep recreational cannabis for adults 21 years of age and older. This is a promise that the industry has kept.
“Licensed marijuana retailers are clearly keen to follow the rules,” said Angela Eichelberger, an Insurance Institute research scientist who took part in authoring the report. “They’re away that the industry hasn’t won everybody over yet, and they don’t want to get shut down.”
Through this study, the researchers uncovered isolated violations of state law at some of the legal shops. These issues include free samples of edibles, among others. Despite these shortcomings, the shops did not sell to minors. However, the researchers have some ideas to ensure protection for underage people.
The study’s authors claim that California’s unlicensed retailers are causing trouble, selling to underage consumers. Throughout the state, the cannabis black market still operates at three times the legal market’s capacity. This is the result of taxation and regulations that give these unlicensed shops an advantage, allowing them to offer cheap cannabis products to everyone, including minors interested in making a purchase.
“The legal market is solving these problems,” explained Elliot Lewis, CEO of Catalyst Cannabis Co., a company operating five licensed shops throughout Los Angeles and Orange counties. “But in the illicit market, it’s obviously open season.”
Giving a minor cannabis in California without a doctor’s recommendation for medical utilization comes with a penalty of up to six months behind bars and a fine not exceeding $500 for first-time offenders. But legitimate business owners who decide to sell or give cannabis to minors risk losing competitive state licenses that may have taken months and hundreds of thousands of dollars to acquire.
While some feel legal cannabis is a problem, the real problem is the businesses operating outside the law. Legitimate cannabusiness operators have too much to lose. But for the cannabis black market, selling to anyone willing to buy allows it to continue thriving.