As participants to the Springfield Selectboard’s meeting regarding retail cannabis, I wanted to respond to Kyle Laurita Bonometti’s coverage of the meeting in the Feb. 2 article. In the article, Bonometti writes, “Concerns about an uptick in youth marijuana use were also voiced, to which Silberman pointed to statistics showing that there has been virtually no proven link between the presence of local cannabis sellers and an increase in youth use.” While this comment was stated in the meeting, myself and other professionals in the field refuted this statement with evidence that was then shared by me with Town Manager Mobus via email. The article presented on Feb. 2 failed to mention the counter statement.
I think it is important that the public is aware that there are multiple documented studies ranging between June 2015 and October 2021 from already legalized states of Washington, Oregon, and California (having had cannabis retail in place since 2013 onward) that refute Mr. Silberman’s claim. These studies show the following:
- Greater retailer availability of cannabis is positively associated with use among adolescents.
- Past 30-day use of cannabis among youth increased in counties of Oregon where retail outlets exist relative to downward 30-day youth cannabis use in counties that did not allow retail cannabis (study: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6986306/).
- Greater availability of cannabis and alcohol are positively associated with co-use among adolescents, and with beliefs favorable for cannabis and alcohol (study: www.pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33435786/).
While not specific to youth, a Washington State study from February 2020 finds that as retailers open closer to where people live, more individuals use cannabis more frequently. These effects are concentrated among young adults (age 18-26), for women, and for rural residents. (study: www.pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34712040/).
It is my hope that you will print these facts for people to better understand the public health implications that retail cannabis has on a community.
On Behalf of the Green Peak Alliance