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What Youth Say About Today's Marijuana

Voices for Prevention hosted the "Be the Light" Prevention Rally on September 14, 2023 in Marietta, GA. Participants joined in person and virtually to hear the story of Damon West. However, the amazing youth panel took the spotlight at the beginning of the event. The teens were open and honest when responding to questions from the audience regarding parent/child interactions when it came to conversations concerning sensitive subjects such as substance use and mental health.

Several youths attended the breakout session to discuss marijuana policy, led by Aubrie Pankau, Project Director, GA Marijuana Initiative, Let's Be Clear, GA. Youth spoke candidly about experiences they have witnessed involving peers, friends, and even family members. An adult participant asked the youth to respond to the following question: "If there was only one thing you could tell a policymaker about today's marijuana, what would it be?" The responses were eye-opening. One young lady answered, "I would tell them about how it affects my peers and their behavior in school. I have family who use it and I'd tell policy makers that people using this don't realize the way it is changing their mindset every day. It affects them when they don't even realize it." Another stated, "Policymakers have the responsibility to protect us and they need to provide resources to help people with their mental health - other things to put in place of marijuana."

Today's marijuana contains much more THC than that of the 1990s and early 2000s. New studies indicate links to increased risk for anxiety and psychosis. There are many reports of regular use of high-potency THC products (THC concentrates) leading to psychosis, then psychosis to suicide. To learn more, visit Johnny's Ambassadors, a nonprofit started by Laura Stack after she lost her son to THC-induced psychosis and suicide.

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