Study: Licensed Cannabis Retailers Are Strictly Complying with ID Verification Laws

Medical Marijuana Dispensary

State-licensed adult-use marijuana retailers are in strict compliance with laws requiring would-be patrons to show identification and proof of legal age, according to data published in the journal Addictive Behaviors.

A team of investigators affiliated with George Washington University’s Milken Institute of Public Health conducted point-of-sale audits of 150 randomly selected adult-use retailers in five cities (Denver, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Portland, and Seattle).

Consistent with other studies, “age verification rates were high (>90 percent),” authors concluded. Retailers in every city but Portland were determined to be in nearly 100 percent compliance with the law.

Commenting on the study’s results, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said: “Regulation works. Illicit marijuana providers don’t ask for or check for ID, but licensed businesses most certainly do.”

He added, “States’ real-world experience with marijuana legalization affirms that these policies can be implemented in a way that provides regulated access for adults while simultaneously limiting youth access and misuse.”

A 2022 inspection study of licensed retailers in California reported that marijuana businesses were “100 percent” compliant with the state’s ID policy. Authors of the study concluded, “Underage youth are not obtaining marijuana at licensed recreational outlets.”

Similar studies conducted in other legal states, like Colorado, have reported similar findings.

According to a report issued in February by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of high school students who report regularly consuming cannabis has fallen steadily over the past decade.

Full text of the study, “Cannabis retailer marketing strategies and regulatory compliance: A surveillance study of retailers in five US cities,” appears in Addictive Behaviors. Additional information is available from NORML’s Fact Sheet, ‘Societal Impacts of Cannabis Dispensaries/Retailers.’

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