Weed to Know: Preventing Underage Marijuana Use in Spokane County

June 05, 2017

Preventing Underage Marijuana Use in Spokane County

By now, you might be used to seeing retail marijuana stores, ads marketing associated products in the local papers, and you may have even been exposed to public use of marijuana. This is the post-I-502 world we now live, work, and play in—it’s a world adults share with teens and adolescents who are more susceptible to the negative effects of marijuana use. Thus, this green era ushers in a new responsibility for the Spokane community to protect youth, and educate them, specific to the harms of associated with their marijuana use.

Adding complexity to this urgency to educate, the cannabis industry grew quickly, making it difficult for communities to respond with adequate training, resources and messaging. As prevention materials and data emerges, providers will be crucial in directing patients to reliable information, particularly when it comes to providing information to parents and youth.

Locally, Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) recently released materials and messaging under the banner of Weed to Know, which targets existing and potential adult marijuana users and implores them to help prevent underage marijuana use. The campaign features six key messages including:

  • laws about driving under the influence and restrictions on marijuana use in public places
  • specificity on marijuana not being legal for people under 21
  • safe and secure storage of edibles
  • talking to youth about marijuana use
  • promotion of a free addiction and recovery hotline available 24/7 for anonymous support 

The messages largely appear in the form of print and digital ads in popular media outlets like Spokesman Review, Inlander, Black Lens News and others. Clinics interested in participating in the campaign can use posters and other resources provided by SRHD. Providers can also direct patients to visit the website, where individuals can read information about each of the campaign messages and be linked to many other helpful resources.

Beyond Spokane County, there are a variety of resources available to learn about marijuana including the University of Washington’s Learn About Marijuana site, where visitors can find scientific information on what marijuana use, how it is used and impacts on health. Among the many resources on this site, there is also information for pregnant women and parents.

The Washington State Department of Health also recently launched a campaign just for youth. The campaign is titled Listen 2 Your Selfie and encourages youth to think about what is important to them and to forget about marijuana. Youth can visit the site to learn more about health impacts of using marijuana, consequences of underage use, and resources.

To provide parents with resources to talk to their children about marijuana starttalkingnow.org has a wealth of information, including short “how to” videos.

For more information on resources or program activities specific to preventing underage marijuana use, contact SRHD’s Tobacco, Vaping Device, and Marijuana Prevention program via Paige McGowan at pmcgowan@srhd.org or (509) 324-1504.