Study: Dispensary Locations Don’t Impact Teen Cannabis Use

Experts believed that close proximity between schools and dispensaries would encourage teen use.

Dispensary Locations Don’t Impact Teen Cannabis Use
Photo by Drew Hays via Unsplash

One of the main stipulations for cannabis dispensaries across the United States is that they not be located within a certain distance to schools. The main reason, of course, is that close proximity to cannabis could theoretically encourage youth use. Not so, says a study from the Journal of Adolescent Health.

The researchers found that out of 117 random schools that fell in districts with different specifications for medical marijuana, not one was impacted in the way of youth cannabis use rates from the past month. It didn’t matter how close in proximity the school and dispensary were, the prices of pot didn’t factor in, nor did the variety of strains.

These are astonishing statistics to many people, especially anti-drug warriors who are quite often asking the seemingly pertinent question, “What about the children?” but they come as less of a surprise to the cannabis community as a whole. And the statistic that seems most surprising is that the number of dispensaries in an area also has no influence over youth usage. So there could be as many dispensaries as McDonald’s and the results remain the same.

The conclusions contradict anti-cannabis legalization proponents’ most valuable talking points. Another of which is that having dispensaries around causes an increase in crime. Communities could do much worse than have a dispensary in their midst, according to The New York Post.

Dispensaries just aren’t crime magnets and they usually have measures that go beyond what’s required to protect their money, merchandise and especially people. Often there are guards or some type of security system in place. Plus, dispensaries are generally clean, regulated, inviting places – for adults. And it is probably in part because of the added security that kids aren’t getting in with fake or no IDs.

In states with medical marijuana, which make up the majority at this point, a patient must not only have a valid ID, but a doctor’s recommendation either on them or on file. Either way, by the results of the Adolescent Health study, kids aren’t even trying to get into the dispensaries. That doesn’t mean that some of them aren’t smoking pot, that’s a given, but the fact that there’s a dispensary around the corner doesn’t make any difference.

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