Let’s Be Blunt: The Legalization of Cannabis and Its Impact on Youth

In recent years, many states in the U.S. have answered the call to legalize cannabis use for adults, though it has not been legalized at the federal level. Minnesota is also likely to legalize adult-use cannabis via the Omnibus Cannabis Bill (HF-100) making its way through the Minnesota legislature. But as legislators debate the pros and cons of cannabis use and its potential impact, young people have largely been left out of the conversation. We want their voices to be heard on an issue affecting youth across the various dimensions of diversity and geographic differences, not just in urban areas. Their perspectives may differ significantly from traditional attitudes about marijuana, and they must be included in the conversation.

Join us as we engage in a dialogue that elevates youth perspectives on cannabis use and legalization. A panel of young people (ages 16 – 24) will discuss a range of topics, such as their thoughts on marijuana in contrast to other substances like alcohol, methamphetamines, tobacco, and other drugs. Youth panelists will also look at the impact of marijuana across four domains: (1) health, (2) education and out-of-school time activities, (3) legislation and taxation, and (4) employment. As these topics are addressed, practitioners representing each sector will present additional perspectives to consider and engage youth in further dialogue. Specific issues panelists will discuss within these domains include:

• Health, including addiction and health implications of marijuana use;
• Education/Out of School Time Programming as a preventive measure;
• Legislation/Taxation, which will address the content and status of HF 100; and
• Employment, focusing on career opportunities for young people and what training/preparation is necessary to seize the moment, as well as how legalization would impact current practices (e.g., drug tests).

Note: While Youthprise is not taking a position on adult-use cannabis, we believe that if legalized, it should be taxed at a rate comparable to taxes in other states and that a portion of the taxes should be earmarked for youth programming and out-of-school time activities.

Back To Blog