Parents & Mentors

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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 making 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.

Cannabis-IS Conversation

Ages 13 to 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 work 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 follow them.

Role-Play How to Say "No"

Work with youth to find tools to deal with peer pressure. Many youths 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 to 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 follow 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.

Cannabis-IS Mentors

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 who 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.