Most online marijuana dispensaries lack adequate age verification features and most accept nontraceable payment methods, enabling youth to hide their transactions, a new study finds.
The New York Times reports the researchers evaluated the age-verification policies and other practices of 80 online marijuana dispensaries that sell to U.S. customers. They found almost 20% require no formal age verification at any stage of the purchasing process. More than 80% accept nontraceable payment methods such as cash or prepaid cards. This allows minors to hide their transactions.
Almost one-third of the dispensaries studied allowed delivery across state lines. Of those, 95% offered delivery to states with marijuana laws that were different from the state where the online dispensary was located. The researchers also found 5% of the dispensaries offered student discounts.
“It is imperative to require strict age verification procedures prior to cannabis purchases online and to establish stringent surveillance of online marijuana dispensaries to protect youth,” the researchers wrote. “Pediatricians and caregivers must be aware of the widespread availability of online dispensaries and potential dissemination of marijuana to minors.”