New Research Suggests How to Curb Pot Use by Kids

The increase in legalized cannabis across the U.S. has raised legitimate ancillary issues, such as minors inappropriately using legal, non-medical weed, a concern addressed by new research published in the journal Pediatrics entitled, “Policy Strategies to Reduce Youth Recreational Marijuana Use.”

As reported by, four distinct strategies, culled from examining the alcohol and tobacco industries, have been suggested by researchers from John Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health, though not all of the proposals are likely to please cannabis consumers and retailers.

The first strategy advocates heavy taxation to drive prices up, which has reduced cigarette smoking by young adults. Second, enact rigid regulations on pot shops, which includes strict enforcement and severe penalties for violations, with regular compliance audits. Ganja stores should also be kept at a proper distance from schools and playgrounds, and marijuana should not be sold outside of dispensaries or pot shops.

The third policy proposal could be dubbed the ‘Joe Camel Strategy,’ as it espouses regulations to avoid utilizing colorful and cartoon-like imagery on cannabis products to limit their appeal to children. For pot edibles crafted as candy or pastries, child-proof packaging and clear labels are necessary.

The fourth and final strategy calls for limiting the marketing presence of recreational pot, like cigarettes and hard liquor being prohibited from TV ads, as research has linked advertising exposure to increased use of tobacco and alcohol products by minors. While these strategies all have their merits, even the study’s lead author Brendan Saloner admitted that given the relative infancy of marijuana legalization, flexibility must play a role in implementing any of the suggested policies.

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