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California: Study Finds 100% Compliance Among Retailers with State’s Minimum Age Laws

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Sacramento, CA: Licensed cannabis retailers in California are vigorously enforcing rules prohibiting young people’s entry into their facilities if they fail to show proof of age, according to a study commissioned by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the University of Chicago.

Commenting on the study’s results, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said: “Regulation works. Illicit [cannabis] providers don’t ask for or check for ID, but licensed businesses most certainly do.”

Researchers assessed whether retail cannabis facilities would sell to pseudo-underage buyers who failed to show proof of age. All 47 of the randomly selected retailers denied the patrons entry.

Authors concluded: “At 100 percent of the recreational [cannabis] outlets visited, the pseudo-underage patrons were required to show age identification to enter. It appears that California recreational [cannabis] outlets avoid selling to underage customers.”

The results are similar to those documented in other states, like Colorado and Oregon, where inspections have similarly found that nearly all retailers were compliant with age-restriction requirements.

An abstract of the study, “An examination of the legal [cannabis] use age and its enforcement in California, a state where recreational [cannabis] is legal,” is available online here. Additional information is available from the NORML fact-sheet, “Societal Impacts of Cannabis Dispensaries/Retailers.”


NORML advocates for changes in public policy so that the responsible possession and use of [cannabis] by adults is no longer subject to criminal penalties. NORML further advocates for a regulated commercial cannabis market so that activities involving the for-profit production and retail sale of cannabis and cannabis products are safe, transparent, consumer-friendly, and are subject to state and/or local licensure. Finally, NORML advocates for additional changes in legal and regulatory policies so that those who use [cannabis] responsibly no longer face either social stigma or workplace discrimination, and so that those with past criminal records for [cannabis]-related violations have the opportunity to have their records automatically expunged.

Find out more at and read our Fact Sheets on the most common misconceptions and myths regarding reform efforts around the country

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