First, let’s acknowledge that despite age restrictions, many kids, perhaps most, will begin experimenting with cannabis before they are legally of age.
That’s the way it’s always been, and that’s the way it will continue. In this respect, it’s no different than we found with alcohol or tobacco. Society can discourage drug use by minors, but based on long experience, good luck eliminating it.
For a while, the popular ‘gateway drug’ model emphasized marijuana as a bridge to the use of ‘harder’ drugs, but later research cast doubts on that, largely because most cannabis users did not go on to heroin, cocaine, et al. Some do, of course, but not a majority.
Nonetheless, there is plenty of research to suggest that the risk for developing a Cannabis Use Disorder — an addiction — increases with first use at an earlier age. Along with risk for possible consequences, one of which is psychosis.
That represents a big downside to pot use during the teen years.
Which brings us to a survey, this time from Arizona, indicating that a significant number of underage kids who use pot are actually purchasing the drug from commercial cannabis stores — the same ones patronized by adults. For example, per the survey, some 22% of 12th Graders who use pot, and 13% of 10th Graders, report obtaining it from commercial pot stores. Not on the black market.
Most surprisingly, so do 8.4% of 8th Graders.
How is that happening? A 13 or 14 year old shows up at a pot store and walks out with edibles and smokeables? Hard to believe.
I’m sure there’s sloppiness on the part of employees, maybe more than a little greed mixed in. That’s what usually accounts for underage sales when we’re talking about liquor or cigarettes. But liquor stores risk punishment for selling to underaged customers. Is that also true for pot vendors?
By the way, legalization in a state appears to worsened the problem of underage purchases, but the problem itself already exists. That was true when only the medical variety was available. Sales then were restricted to card-carrying patients. Didn’t the budtenders check IDs for age?
Then again, maybe the stores weren’t all licensed, despite the law. In a related story, New York City’s Mayor just announced a huge campaign to close down unlicensed pot stores. Right now,  there are about 2000 of those in NYC, versus 100 of the legitimate vendors. Easy to see how quality control could slip in an outlaw pot emporium.
Here’s a link to a news report on the New York situation if you’re curious.
A quote from the story: “You’re finding high school students in these shops, and then going to high school and vaping, and it’s outrageous they pick locations within feet of a high school…”
I figure they chose the location deliberately. Perhaps hoping to take advantage of underage customers before the City inspectors arrive on the doorstep.
Might as well get while the getting’s good.