Oregon is getting much stricter on its age restrictions for legal weed. In particular, state authorities have made the penalties for selling to minors much heavier—and dispensaries seem to be responding. With Oregon dispensaries cracking down on minors trying to buy weed, state authorities are optimistic that shops are adhering more closely to the state’s age regulations.
Weed Shops Pass the Test
Every so often, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC)— the agency that oversees the state’s legal cannabis industry—conducts random tests. During these tests, they send minors into dispensaries. The underaged decoys then use their actual IDs to try and make a purchase. If a shop fails the test by selling weed to a minor, it is subject to fines and other penalties.
Earlier this year, authorities in Oregon became worried when a number of dispensaries failed the test and sold cannabis to underage consumers.
Shortly following these incidents, the OLCC ramped up the penalties for selling to minors. In fact, the agency tripled the penalties. Now, if a dispensary sells cannabis to anyone younger than 21, it could be suspended from operations for 30 days or receive a fine of up to $4,950. These penalties go up for multiple offenses.
“This is a wake-up call to our licensed retailers,” Steve Marks, Executive Director of the OLCC, said about the new penalties. “Oregonians have entrusted you with a responsibility that includes not selling marijuana to minors.”
After making these changes, the OLCC recently did another round of field tests in which minors tried to buy weed. This time, the results were very different. According to Forbes, the OLCC targeted marijuana dispensaries in Portland, Bend, and Salem. Not a single shop sold to a minor.
The news source also reported that this most recent round of tests brings the compliance rate among dispensaries up to 86 percent in the state of Oregon. For some comparison, the OLCC has reported a 78 percent compliance rate among alcohol retailers.
Final Hit: Oregon Dispensaries Cracking Down on Minors Trying To Buy Weed
The topic of underaged marijuana consumers is always a hot topic in any discussions about legal cannabis. It’s common for people opposed to legalization to argue that making weed legal will endanger teenagers and children.
But this fear is not supported by data. In fact, multiple studies consistently show that after legalization, teen use stays the same or, in some cases, actually drops.
In fact, this is exactly what the National Survey on Drug Use and Health discovered in its most recent data. A report published in 2017 found that marijuana among people between the ages of 12 and 17 dropped to its lowest rates in more than two decades.
In particular, the study found that 6.5 percent of adolescents used marijuana on a monthly basis in 2016. That number represented a big drop since 2014, which is around the same time that recreational dispensaries started opening in Washington and Colorado.
These trends, coupled with Oregon’s efforts to crack down on dispensaries selling to minors, could help disprove the claim that legalization puts the nation’s youth at risk.