Exposure to Marijuana Marketing After Legalization of Retail Sales: Oregonians' Experiences, 2015-2016

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Abstract

Objectives

To assess exposure to marijuana advertising in Oregon after the start of retail marijuana sales in October 2015.

Methods

We conducted a repeated cross-sectional online survey of 4001 Oregon adults aged 18 years and older in November 2015 and April-May 2016. We assessed subgroup differences by using the Pearson χ2 test.

Results

More than half of adults (54.8%) statewide reported seeing marijuana advertising in the past month. These adults reported that they most frequently saw storefront (74.5%), streetside (66.5%), and billboard (55.8%) advertising. Exposure did not significantly differ by participant's age or marijuana use but was higher among those living in counties with retail sales (56.5%) than in counties without (32.5%).

Conclusions

Most adults reported exposure to marijuana advertising following the start of retail marijuana sales in Oregon. People who do not use marijuana and those aged 18 to 24 years were as exposed to advertising as other groups.

Public Health Implications

Advertising restrictions may be needed to protect youths and young adults from pro-use messages. Commercial free speech afforded by the First Amendment makes advertising restrictions challenging, but public policy experts note that restrictions aimed at protecting youths may be allowed.

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