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Study Reveals Online Cannabis Retailers Facilitate Underage Purchases

A recent research published on Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Association Paediatrics found that online marijuana retailers do not enforce age limitations on sales and have other loose practises that enable adolescents to acquire cannabis over the internet.

Eighty online dispensaries operating in 32 states and selling marijuana to clients in the United States were studied for their age-verification processes and other practises.

According to the data, nearly one in five (20.8%) dispensaries “required no formal age verification at any stage of the purchasing process.” Eighty percent also allowed “nontraceable” payment options, such as prepaid cards or cash, “enabling youth to hide their transactions,” the scientists said.

Nearly a third of the dispensaries surveyed permitted delivery to other states, and nearly all of them (95%) provided shipping to jurisdictions where the legal status of marijuana differed from that of the dispensary’s base of operations. Only 5% of the stores offered discounts to students.

In this era of growing drug potency and broad legalisation, health professionals have voiced worries about the consequences of marijuana use on the developing brain. 6.3% of 12th pupils, 2.1% of 10th graders, and 0.7% of 8th graders reported daily cannabis use in 2021, according to a survey financed by the National Institutes of Health in 2022.

In 2021, over a third of graduating seniors, 20% of 10th students, and 8.3% of eighth pupils had used marijuana at least once.

Marijuana usage decreased across these age groups as a result of the epidemic, with one possible explanation being that minors found it more difficult to buy and consume drugs, including marijuana, unsupervised.

The study authors pointed out that the convenience of online marijuana sales and shipping might make it more accessible to children. They concluded that “it is imperative” to implement “strict surveillance of online marijuana dispensaries to protect youth” and to impose “strict age-verification procedures” before online sales of cannabis.

As a stopgap, they cautioned that “paediatricians and carers must be aware of the widespread availability of online dispensaries and the potential dissemination of marijuana to minors.”

Jonathan James
Jonathan James
I serve as a Senior Executive Journalist of The National Era
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