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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Keeping Marijuana Away from Kids

While the country is heading towards increased access for marijuana, the need to regulate the drug is of the greatest importance. Keeping the drug away from children and teenagers is not an easy task, but if done correctly, officials can minimize exposure. New research suggests that using the methods implemented for the regulation of alcohol and tobacco could prove effective in keeping marijuana out the hands and minds of kids, Medical-News reports.

Experts at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University suggest four strategies to prevent marijuana use among minors, including tax policies to keep prices high.

“Research has shown that young people are particularly price sensitive and tend to reduce cigarette use at higher rates than adults after price increases,” commentary co-author Beth McGinty, PhD noted in a news release.

The authors argue that states should:
  • Limit retail availability of marijuana and tightly regulate it
  • Prohibit stores that sell other products from also selling marijuana.
  • Regulate the appearance of foods containing the drug.
  • Use childproof packaging and clear labeling.
“The early days of marijuana legalization present a unique window of opportunity to create a regulatory environment that minimizes youth access,” says study leader Brendan Saloner, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Bloomberg School. “States should heed lessons learned from tobacco and alcohol regulations, which have proven very difficult to change despite research linking weak monitoring and low prices to underage use. Our number one priority has to be to keep our children safe.”

The experts point out that marijuana is more difficult to regulate than alcohol or tobacco, for the fact that people can grow it at home.

The commentary published in the journal Pediatrics.

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