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Associations between young adult medical marijuana outcomes and availability and marketing of dispensaries

As medical marijuana is becoming legalized across the U.S. and dispensaries are appearing, it is important to understand how this will impact young adults. A recent study followed students from middle school through young adulthood to observe this. In this study, factors such as density of medical marijuana dispensaries in areas surrounding participants, storefront signage of dispensaries, socioeconomic status, and marijuana use were measured.

The results of these surveys indicated that the average number of dispensaries within 4 miles of the participants’ homes was over 19. Higher density of dispensaries around one’s home predicted greater past month marijuana use and positive marijuana expectancies. As far as signage outside of dispensaries, those who were exposed to more advertising were far more likely to have positive expectancies of marijuana use.

This study took place in California, the first U.S. state to legalize medical marijuana. Therefore, this information can be useful as more states may be opening and advertising dispensaries.

Take Away: Young adults who live in areas with higher density of medical marijuana dispensaries are more likely to use marijuana. Those who are exposed to dispensaries displaying signage are likely to have positive expectations of marijuana use.

Shih, R.A., Rodriguez, A., Parast, L., Pedersen, E.R., Tucker, J.S, et al. (2019). Associations Between Young Adult Marijuana Outcomes and Availability of Medical Marijuana Dispensaries and Storefront Signage. Addiction. doi.org/10.1111/add.14711

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