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Original Articles

Associations between Local Jurisdiction Ordinances and Current Use of Cannabis Products in California Adolescents

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Cannabis use among adolescents may have detrimental effects and use among this age group is increasing. It is important to understand how expansion of laws permitting cannabis sales may impact adolescent use. Much of the current research has explored how state-level policy decisions may impact adolescents’ use behaviors; however, there is a gap in the understanding of how differences in local jurisdictional policies may also influence underage cannabis use.

Procedures: The present study cross-sectionally assesses local variation in cannabis policies to explore the potential effects of local policy on underage use behaviors. Data were collected from (N = 1,573) adolescents representing 120 different localities across California, collected as a part of Project Cal Teens. Linear regression models were used to assess associations between local jurisdiction’s allowance of retail sale of cannabis for adult-use and past 30-day use of non-medical (adult use) cannabis and perceived access to cannabis products.


Local policy allowing cannabis retail was associated with adolescents’ significantly higher past 30-day use of cannabis (β = 0.25 95% CI = 0.08, 0.42) and perceived access (β = 0.60 95% CI = 0.27, 0.94).


Results highlight the impact of local cannabis policies on adolescent cannabis use and perception. Considering the effects of cannabis use on adolescent development, this is an important public health concern because 14 states have already legalized recreational retail sales and growing numbers of local jurisdictions are allowing the retail sale of recreational cannabis.

Declaration of interest

No potential competing interest was reported by the authors.

Data availability statement

The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author, upon reasonable request. The data are not publicly available due to their containing information that could compromise the privacy of research participants.

Additional information


This work was supported by the California Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program (Grant # 28IR-0042)

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