In September of last year Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy organized a youth roundtable discussion on cannabis legalization in order to gain insights from youth on aspects of legalization that would affect them directly: age restrictions, criminalization, preventative education, and distribution. Attended by 25 diverse youth, and a member of the Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation, CSSDP produced a final report which highlighted ten main recommendations to emerge from our discussions.

 

The 2016 Roundtable Results

CSSDP was happy to see some of our recommendations adapted in the Cannabis Act introduced by the federal government. For example, at our roundtable, youth really emphasized the idea that age restrictions should be as low as possible, but not exceeding the age of access for alcohol. This recommendation was made based on the over-criminalization of youth, particularly minority youth, for cannabis related charges.

Many youth felt that an area severely lacking was access to realistic and evidence based cannabis education. The roundtable highlighted how overwhelmed youth feel in an ‘internet age’ where they have access to a plethora of (not always reliable and often competing) information.

 

Our Cannabis Education Project

Our resulting education project aims to help educators and parents have more effective dialogue with kids that will develop their cannabis and health literacy.

CSSDP hopes to provide a starting point on cannabis education, and we are bringing in diverse youth to help us create, review and edit the final product. Starting with real and honest dialogue based in evidence and harm reduction, CSSDP hopes to gather more input from young people around the country on how to create a comprehensive strategy for cannabis education.

To accomplish this, we need YOUR help. Learn more.

 

The Toolkit

We hope the Cannabis Education Toolkit will support the development of new cannabis resources, and help educators and parents approach meaningful discussions with their kids about responsible use.

The toolkit is divided into two major sections: the first looks at ten evidence-based recommendations to approaching cannabis education with young people, and the second section presents a pull-away cannabis curriculum which covers Cannabis 101, reasons for use and non-use, current evidence around common youth cannabis claims, such as brain development and mental health, as well as harm reduction.

Canada has some of the highest rates of youth who use cannabis, and it’s time to talk about why people use cannabis, the common health claims around youth cannabis use, factors that lead to misuse, impaired driving, and why cannabis is a social justice issue, among other things, in a non-judgemental and inclusive manner.

And we need youth to be at the heart of this discussion. Interested? Here’s how to get involved.

Photo by Climate KIC on Unsplash.

 

Heather D'Alessio

Heather D'Alessio

An Algonquin College business student focused on entrepreneurship and innovation, Heather is fascinated by corporate social responsibility within the cannabis industry, with a passion for the relationship between food, health, and sustainability, and is an advocate for drug policy based on human rights and public health. Find out more.

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