Adults aged 18-23-years-old that reside near cannabis retailers are no more likely to be interested in cannabis or tobacco than those who do not, according to a study by the RAND Corporation and the University of Southern California published this month in the Journal of Cannabis Research. The researchers note that it is a first-of-its-kind study simultaneously examining “the density of both [medical cannabis dispensaries] and [recreational cannabis retailers] around young adults’ homes and associations with future intentions to use cannabis, including the co-use of cannabis with tobacco/nicotine.”
“Living near more outlets of any type was not significantly associated with intentions to use in the full sample, adjusting for individual—and neighborhood—level characteristics. … Our results suggest that young adults who lived in an area with a greater density of any type of outlet were not significantly more likely to report stronger intentions to use cannabis, e-cigarettes, or cannabis mixed with tobacco/nicotine in the future.”—Density of medical and recreational cannabis outlets: racial/ethnic differences in the associations with young adult intentions to use cannabis, e-cigarettes, and cannabis mixed with tobacco/nicotine, July 9, 2021, Journal of Cannabis Research
The researchers note that white young adults were more likely to co-use cannabis and tobacco when living near cannabis outlets of any type and more recreational retailers; higher co-use rates were found—marginally—among Asian young adults living near medical dispensaries; while higher medical dispensary density was significantly associated with lower intentions to use e-cigarettes among Hispanic young adults.
“The results suggest racial/ethnic differences in the impact of living near cannabis outlets on intentions to use,” the researchers concluded. “Prevention efforts targeting young adults who live near more cannabis outlets may be especially beneficial for white and Asian young adults.”
NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano said the research “should allay” fears from policymakers that legal cannabis retailers in their jurisdiction will lead to an increased interest in using either cannabis or tobacco.
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