Our Position

The Coalition recognizes that there are many conflicting policies and opinions regarding marijuana use and that the implications of recreational and medicinal marijuana are not well understood. Furthermore, the research is clear that marijuana has the potential to cause both short and long term health effects.1 Young people, under the age of 25, are particularly susceptible to these effects.2 Adolescent marijuana use may interfere with healthy brain development and reduce thinking, memory, and learning functions.3 Marijuana use by adolescents may also lead to marijuana use disorder.4 It is illegal in Oregon for people under the age of 21 to use recreational marijuana.5 There is also no recommended use of medicinal marijuana for people under the age of 18, except for specific medical conditions as recommended by a medical professional.6

If you’d like to learn about our marijuana prevention projects, check out our Projects Page.

Our Solutions

Example projects:

Public awareness campaigns for teens and parents promoting the following messages:

  • Learn the actual consequences marijuana can have on your life
  • Learn about the risks of driving high
  • Start the conversation with your kids about marijuana

Positive community norms in middle and high schools

  • Work with students and staff to develop messaging promoting positive norms
  • Conduct presentations in school health classes regarding substance abuse prevention

Supporting Data

Cause for Hope:

  • 94% of Deschutes County 8th graders, and 83% of 11th graders did not smoke marijuana in a typical month. These are lower use rates than the State averages.7
  • The majority of Deschutes County youth think that their parents would disapprove of them smoking marijuana.8 Research shows that youth care about what their parents think—and when parents’ disapproval is high, youth use rates tend to be low.9
  • No smoking policies are expanding to include the prohibition of marijuana use.10

Cause for Concern:

  • Youth beliefs about the risks of harm resulting from marijuana use have declined significantly since 2009.11 As perception of harm decreases, use tends to increase.12
  • The percentage of youth stating it would be easy or very easy to get marijuana has increased significantly since 2009.13 As perception of easy access increases, use tends to increase.14
  • There is a lack of research regarding the health impacts of marijuana and the parameters of “safe use”.15

1Hall, W. and L. Degenhardt, Adverse health effects of non-medical cannabis use. Lancet, 2009. 374(9698): p. 1383-91

2Winters KC, Lee C-YS. Likelihood of developing an alcohol and cannabis use disorder during youth: association with recent use and age. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2008;92(1-3):239-247

3Crean RD, Crane NA, Mason BJ. An evidence based review of acute and long-term effects of cannabis use on executive cognitive functions. Journal of Addiction Medicine 2011;5:1-8.

4Hasin DS, Saha TD, Kerridge BT, et al. Prevalence of Marijuana Use Disorders in the United States Between 2001-2002 and 2012-2013. JAMA Psychiatry. 2015;72(12):1235-1242.

5What’s Legal Oregon Website. Oregon Liquor Control Commission. http://whatslegaloregon.com

6Oregon Medical Marijuana Program Website. Oregon Health Authority. https://public.health.oregon.gov/DiseasesConditions/ChronicDisease/MedicalMarijuanaProgram/Pages/index.aspx

72016 Oregon Student Wellness Survey, Deschutes County.

82016 Oregon Student Wellness Survey, Deschutes County.

9Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2015). Risk and protective factors and initiation of substance use: Results from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

10The following expanded no smoking policies to include marijuana: Deschutes County, Deschutes Public Library, Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council, Bend-La Pine School District, Redmond School District, and the Sisters School District.

112009-2016 Oregon Student Wellness Survey.

12Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2015). Risk and protective factors and initiation of substance use: Results from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

132009-2016 Oregon Student Wellness Survey.

14King, K., & Hoffman, A. R. (2012). Sex and grade level differences in marijuana use among youth. Journal of Drug Education, 42(3), 361-377.

15Marijuana Drug Facts Website. National Institute on Drug Abuse. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/marijuana

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