Public Health

The mission of the Butte County Public Health Department (BCPHD) is to protect the public through promoting individual, community, and environmental health. 

Let's Talk Cannabis: Parents & Mentors

Talking with youth about Cannabis (marijuana, weed, pot) can be difficult, but it’s the best way to help them make good decisions. The more informed you are, the more helpful you can be to the youth in your life.

Parents and mentors can have an impact on whether or not youth use cannabis. Pre-teens, teens and youth in their early 20s often seek out new experiences and engage in risky behaviors, such as using cannabis. You can help prevent underage use by starting the conversation about cannabis with youth in your life, and make sure they are aware of potential consequences. Check out the resources below to find out what you should know about cannabis and learn tips for talking to youth.

Ages 13-16

Start the Conversation

Youth with supportive parents, teachers, coaches and other adults are less likely to use cannabis underage. That's why it's important to talk with youth before they try cannabis for the first time. Start the conversation early. Don't try to squeeze it in on the way to school or when you only have a few minutes. Find time to have these conversations that works for both of you.


Be a good listener. Get their opinion. Don’t talk over or down to them. When you allow them to be heard, they’re more likely to listen when you speak.

Set Clear Rules

Make your rules clear and stick to them. Let them know what will happen for not following them.

Role-play How to Say “No.”

Work with youth to find tools to deal with peer pressure. Many youth don't realize saying no can be as simple as saying, "If I get caught, I won't be able to do sports, theater, dance, etc." Also, encourage youth to use you as an excuse to avoid cannabis use. For example, "My parents would ground me for the summer."

Focus on the Positive

Encourage them to make choices that help them achieve their goals. Remind them that four out of five high schoolers don't use cannabis.

Build Confidence

Teach them that if they want to reach their goals, they need to focus on more than just marijuana. Being labeled a "pothead" could hurt their chances of getting a job or even dating someone they like.

Ages 17-20

Keep Talking

Even if you’ve talked before, their issues and opinions change all the time. Plus, as children get older, they can feel more pressure from friends and classmates.

Stay Connected

Be involved in their life. It will help you to be able to key into what they're thinking and feeling.

Set Clear Rules

Make your rules clear and stick to them. Let them know what will happen for not following them.

Give Them Responsibility

Teach them to take charge of their own sleep, health, schoolwork and more. Having control over parts of their lives helps to teach youth how their decisions impact their health and future.

Help Them Achieve Their Goals

Help them figure out what their hobbies and dreams are and what freedoms they want. Help them prioritize those interests over using cannabis. If they're focused on goals that mean a lot to them, they'll be less likely to let marijuana get in their way.

Teachers, Coaches & More

What you think matters to the young people in your life. As an adult who they trust, you can impact the choices of the youth you work with. What you say, and the example you set, makes a difference. These tips can help you get talking.

Remind Them That They’re Role Models

Let them know that younger students and siblings look up to them as examples.

Remind Them What Can Happen for Breaking the Rules

Teens that break school or school activity rules may have to go to drug counseling. They can also be suspended or kicked out of school or off a team. They can also face prosecution.

Effects on School & Sports

Stress the fact that teens who use cannabis regularly may have trouble learning and memory issues. They may also have lower math and reading scores. cannabis can also affect the way they play sports because it can affect coordination.

Learn How Teens Are Using Cannabis

Because of vaporizers, edibles and drinks, it is easier than ever to hide and use cannabis at school or during school activities. Learn the different ways youth can use cannabis so you know what to look out for.


Additional Resources:


How should I talk to youth about cannabis? 
Talk openly and provide guidance about the risks of using cannabis. Stay positive and focus on how using cannabis can get in the way of youth achieving their goals. Set shared guidelines and expectations for healthy behaviors. Be aware of your own attitudes and behaviors.

What should I know about poisoning and edibles?
When you smoke or vape cannabis you may feel the effects quickly, but it can take between 30 minutes and two hours to feel the effects of edibles like cookies, sodas, and ice cream. Edibles may have higher concentrations of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, the active ingredient in cannabis). It is important to know about the delayed effects of edibles because if you eat too much too fast, you are at higher risk of poisoning.

How should I store cannabis safely?
Store all cannabis products in a locked area. Make sure children cannot see or reach the locked area. Keep cannabis in the child-resistant packaging from the store. Cannabis affects children more strongly than adults. Children are at higher risk for cannabis poisoning, especially from edibles. If you think a child may have ingested cannabis, call the Poison Control Center at (1-800-222- 1222). If you think a child needs immediate medical help, call 911.

Can I use cannabis?
You can legally use cannabis if you are 21 or older. You can also use cannabis if you are 18 or older and have a current qualifying physician’s recommendation or a valid county-issued medical marijuana identification card.

What about medicinal cannabis use?
Use of medicinal cannabis is legal if you have a current qualifying physician’s recommendation or a valid county-issued medical marijuana identification card. To buy medicinal cannabis, you must be 18 or older and have either have current qualifying physician’s recommendation, a valid county-issued medical marijuana identification card, or be a Primary Caregiver as defined in Health and Safety Code Section 11362.7(d). You can possess up to eight ounces of dried cannabis and up to six mature or 12 immature cannabis plants, unless the physician’s recommendation specifies a higher amount. With a valid county-issued medical marijuana identification card, you do not have to pay sales tax when you buy cannabis, but you may have to pay other taxes.

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