Research Society on Marijuana: Sales Compliance

Klein Buendel - Wednesday, 9 August 2017 11:18

Dr. W. Gill Woodall from Klein Buendel presented a poster entitled, “Compliance with ID Regulations by Retail Marijuana Outlets in Two U.S. States,” at the first scientific meeting of the Research Society on Marijuana in Fort Collins, Colorado in late July.

Marijuana is becoming a commercial, regulated commodity in the United States. Four states have legalized sales of recreational marijuana by state-licensed stores and voters in another four states approved state-regulated sales in 2016. Like alcohol, sales for recreational use are limited to adults aged 21 or older with a state-approved ID to prevent youth access and initiation.


Dr. Gill Woodall at RSMj

This study tested compliance with state age and ID restrictions on sales of recreational marijuana, using pseudo-underage decoys or buyers. The sample consisted of retail stores licensed by Colorado and Washington State to sell recreational marijuana. Stratified samples of stores (urban v. rural) were selected from state regulatory agency lists in the largest metropolitan area in each state and regions with small cities and rural areas in each state. Young-appearing pseudo-patron assessment teams comprised of a buyer and an observer visited stores in Colorado and Washington twice to assess compliance with age and ID restrictions.

Most stores sold recreational marijuana only. Most outlets had posted signs stating only individuals 21 or older could enter and announcing an ID was required for entry. Pseudo-patron refusal rates were very high.

Compliance with age and ID restrictions in the recreational marijuana market appeared to be high. Compliance exceeded that reported for alcohol sales and are similar to tobacco sales. Recreational marijuana stores may be especially alert for selling to underage individuals in this new market, given owners’ large financial investments, perceived vigilance of state regulators, and tension created by the continued illegality of sales under federal law.

Co-authors on the poster presentation included David B. Buller, PhD, from Klein Buendel, Robert Saltz, PhD, from the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, Mary K. Buller, MA, from Klein Buendel, and Randall Starling, PhD, from the University of New Mexico’s Center for Alcoholism, Substance Abuse, and Addictions.

This research was supported by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (DA038933; David Buller, PI).

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