Why is the important to Healthy Cattaraugus County: drug free coalition?
First, it is important to point out that these illegal pop-up dispensaries are not being regulated. That means that there is no control over the safety of these products that are often being “gifted” through a purchase of another item such as a sticker, shirt, or even a snack. This puts our youth then at a greater risk for obtaining marijuana. The law is very clear, the sale of or providing cannabis to anyone under 21 is illegal and anyone who does, is subject to repercussions under the law. The brain is not fully developed until about age 25 and marijuana use in adolescence has been known to adversely impact cognitive development and mental health in youth (Knopf, 2018).
In states where adult-use has been legalized it has also been found that products such as edibles have been difficult to regulate and often the packaging contains inaccurate information regarding THC content and dosage (Knopf, 2018). As some states have experienced an increase in youth overdosing on these edibles, it led to imposing strict regulations in order to help reduce the appeal to this population (Knopf, 2018). We also know that over the past several years vaping has been on the rise among youth (Knopf, 2018). In fact, in a recent survey of the Cattaraugus County Prevention Needs Assessment (2019) there was a 7.9% overall increase in the number of students in grades 6-12 who reported using an e-cigarette, vape, e-hookah, etc. in the Past 30-Days. As this chart shows, every grade saw a significant increase in use.
Bach Harrison, Cattaraugus County Prevention Needs Assessment Survey (2019)
Knopf, A. (2018). Teen cannabis vaping and edible use increased in high-density dispensary states. The Brown University Child and
and Adolescent Behavior Letter, 34(12), 3-4. https://doi.org/10.1002/cbl.30342