Legal sales of recreational marijuana will start in January, following the passage of Proposition 64 last November. As businesses gear up to hit the market, some health leaders are concerned about the branding and advertising of marijuana products that may appeal to kids and encourage use.
A recent segment on KPCC’s AirTalk focused on these issues and discussed a proposed state bill that would prohibit businesses from “using predatory marketing tactics to attract children or other underage users.” This would ban them from offering t-shirts, hats, and other products that are branded in a way that encourages the consumption and use of cannabis.
Stanford adolescent medicine specialist Seth Ammerman, MD, was a guest on the show and expressed support for the bill. Earlier this year, he co-authored a report published by the American Academy of Pediatrics about counseling parents and teens about marijuana use and how doctors can help navigate these conversations.
There is a growing body of research that shows the harmful effects of drugs, including marijuana, on the developing adolescent brains, and Ammerman said he worries that the "coolness factor" of these cannabis products and their availability online could lead to regular or heavy usage by teens. "Companies have a right to be able to sell their product, but we don't want to do that at the risk of harming hundreds of thousands, if not millions of teenagers in California," he argued.
The bill passed the Senate on a unanimous vote in May and is currently being examined by a House committee.
Previously: Is marijuana safe for teens? American Academy of Pediatrics says no, The health effects of legalizing marijuana: A Q&A with a Stanford drug policy specialist and Teens' beliefs about marijuana documents in new Stanford study
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