California voters passed the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, or Proposition 64, on November 8, 2016. It established sales and cultivation taxes and legalized the sale, possession, growing, and consumption of cannabis for adults 21 and older for non-medical purposes.
Five years after legalization, a research study conducted in 2020 and published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, gathered data from statewide surveys of over 3 million California adolescents and found significant increases in lifetime and past-30-day cannabis use among nearly all demographic groups. It also found that evidence-based prevention programs and greater local control on retail marijuana sales may help to reduce marijuana availability and use among adolescents.
Similar to how high alcohol-retailer density is an environmental risk factor for excessive drinking, marijuana dispensary presence in a neighborhood could be a risk factor for marijuana abuse or dependence. An analysis of marijuana dispensary density in California found that an additional dispensary per square mile in a zip code was associated with a 6.8 percent increase in marijuana abuse or dependence hospitalizations. A study conducted in Colorado found that marijuana stores may also be more likely to be located in disadvantaged neighborhoods and more likely to be in neighborhoods that had lower household incomes, higher crime rates, and greater density of alcohol establishments.
Just as KYCC’s Responsible Retail Campaign seeks to reduce underage drinking and alcohol-related harms by working at an environmental level to address substance use availability and accessibility, KYCC’s Responsible Cannabis Retailer Campaign (RCRC) seeks to reduce marijuana-misuse among youth and teens through policy advocacy, education and partnerships with local cannabis retailers.
KYCC’s Responsible Cannabis Retailer Campaign seeks to build partnerships with DCR (Department of Cannabis Regulation) certified and legalized cannabis dispensaries within Koreatown, Westlake, Pico Union, and Hollywood.
KYCC’s Prevention Education team has reached out to 36 cannabis dispensaries within our agency’s service areas and created an intake form to collect observational data to inform our organization’s outreach and engagement efforts. Since February 2021, KYCC’s RCRC team has been frequenting several dispensaries to strengthen community efforts in reducing marijuana misuses among teens and improve public health and safety.
The Responsible Cannabis Retailer Campaign (RCRC) strives to create partnerships with local cannabis dispensaries to disseminate prevention education materials, prevent youth access and cannabis misuse and inform business owners on cannabis rules and regulations.