A recent study conducted by Rand Corp has found that young adults who live in areas having a high number of marijuana dispensaries consume the drug more frequently than youth putting up in other areas. Also, the former group has more positive views about the drug.
The researchers at the non-profit organization surveyed 1,887 young adults — between the age of 18 and 22 — living in Los Angeles County and made the deduction. Furthermore, they also found that the results were strongest among adults who were living near dispensaries that had storefront signs.
The study is also the first to show how storefront signs influence a youth’s use of and views on marijuana. Thus, if policymakers want to curb the use of the drug, they should consider regulating such advertisements. One such city that has put in place stringent policies for billboard and storefront advertisement is Los Angeles.
“Our findings reveal that as the marijuana retail outlets become more visible and more in number, they could influence the way young adults perceive and consume marijuana,” said Regina Shih, the study’s lead author and a senior behavioral scientist at Rand Corp.
Although there’s some research and anecdotal evidence to back the medicinal benefits of marijuana, youth who are in the habit of frequently using cannabis high in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — the psychoactive compound that gives one a ‘high’ — can fall prey to many negative consequences like fatal motor vehicle accidents, psychosis, poor relationships, and a host of other physical health issues.
Notably, California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996.
Although the findings of the study shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, it may provide regulators the much-needed evidence to regulate the advertisement part that tends to leave such a lasting impression on the minds of ‘vulnerable’ young adults.