Dealing with Underage Marijuana Use

Topic: Law Enforcement
Words: 843 Pages: 3


The study aims to examine law enforcement practices in dealing with underage marijuana use in places where the sale of recreational marijuana is legal. Today, there is an increasing spread of legalization of the use and/or sale of marijuana for nonprofessional purposes in more states. In this regard, the authors argue that example learned by local law enforcement in states with existing retail sales can help guide future practice. All local agencies reported that the use of minors was, to some extent or very common in their jurisdictions. Based on the data obtained, the authors conclude that marijuana enforcement can be improved in relation to the sale/provision of marijuana to underage youth.


The study was based on a qualitative analysis method with a random sample. Wiens et al. (2018) collected local law enforcement data from two states, Colorado and Washington, each of which interviewed 25 agencies (Wiens et al., 2018). Although the study used a random sample of agencies, the researchers looked primarily at those operating in communities with at least one licensed recreational marijuana shop (Wiens et al., 2018). The authors conducted a bi-variate analysis to assess differences between states in resources, enforcement efforts, and priorities (Yun et al., 2019). The validity, significance, and insight of a qualitative study are more related to the analytical ability of the researcher than to sample size, and the study was therefore limited to 25 agencies in one state.

Research Model Type

The approach that the authors use in their study includes an analysis of the identified problem of marijuana distribution among minors. It is necessary to give an overview of the intervention, disseminate it, and identify new legalization initiatives and activities. Action research assumes that the social world is constantly changing, and both the researcher and the research are part of this change (Kaushik & Walsh, 2019). The authors study the features of marijuana law enforcement and the impact of this on the level of use of illegal drugs by adolescents.

Target Group

At the beginning of their article, Wiens et al. (2018) define their target audience. They argue that the study aims to explore ways to combat underage marijuana use. That is necessary, as more and more states are recently legalizing marijuana. The studied methods will be helpful to other law enforcement agencies in which legalization occurred not so long ago (Wiens et al., 2018). Thus, the target group of researchers is law enforcement agencies and state politicians who are going to pass a law to allow the use of marijuana, not only for medical purposes.

Data Collection

Researchers conducted telephone and online surveys of local and state law enforcement agencies in Colorado and Washington to assess law enforcement efforts related to recreational marijuana. The study focused on young marijuana use, youth access to marijuana, and drunk driving but included other topics. The authors called local law enforcement in cities in list order until they reached 25 completed surveys in designated states (Wiens et al., 2018). The number of attempts to call the agency was limited to 15, and the maximum number of reminder letters sent by the agency was three (Wiens et al., 2018). Wiens et al. (2018) also wanted to interview state law enforcement but only received a response from Washington.

The evaluation of the surveys received consisted of the characterization of agencies and perceptions of the extent of underage drinking and driving using marijuana in their jurisdictions. In addition, specific recreational marijuana enforcement efforts related to underage use and sale to minors were evaluated. Together with this, the use in public places and allowed sales days/hours were considered. The most important thing for the target audience was the assessment of the resources and priorities of the agency.


This study attempts to understand and characterize the current state and local recreational marijuana enforcement situation in Colorado and Washington. They are the first two US states to legalize the sale of recreational marijuana (Wiens et al., 2018). Since the authors focus on any law enforcement needs that agencies face in relation to the legalization of recreational marijuana, the independent variable is how to deal with the distribution of marijuana to minors. Essentially, the level of distribution of marijuana among teenagers depends on the actions of local and state authorities of responsibility.


The analyzed article focuses on assessing compliance with marijuana laws in the two US states that have legitimate the nonprofessional use of marijuana, Washington and Colorado. The authors used random sampling and interviewed 50 local agencies in two states; in addition, they considered agencies at the state level. the study also focused on efforts to enforce laws relating to recreational marijuana retail sales. The survey helped examine whether state or local agencies are primarily responsible for enforcing recreational marijuana laws in the state, as well as the agency’s overall priorities and resources. All local agencies reported that the use of minors was to some extent or very common in their jurisdictions. Ways to deal with the illegal distribution of marijuana among teenagers differ at state and local levels.


Kaushik, V., & Walsh, C. A. (2019). Pragmatism as a research paradigm and its implications for Social Work Research. Social Sciences, 8(9), 255. Web.

Wiens, T., Lenk, K. M., Fabian, L. E. A., & Erickson, D. J. (2018). Law enforcement practices in the first two states in U.S. to legalize recreational marijuana. International Journal of Drug Policy, 61, 38–43. Web.

Yun, Y.-H., Li, H.-D., Deng, B.-C., & Cao, D.-S. (2019). An overview of variable selection methods in multivariate analysis of near-infrared spectra. TrAC Trends in Analytical Chemistry, 113, 102–115. Web.

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