KnowTHC: Prevention

Hello Champion!

Marijuana is an addictive substance, just like alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.  Science shows that a developing brain is more susceptible to addiction. Kids who start using marijuana early are more likely to continue use into adulthood. Early use of marijuana is twice as likely to result in a marijuana substance use disorder within 2 years of initiation when compared to the use of alcohol or tobacco. 

Why it Matters:

Addiction is real.  The statement that marijuana is addictive is often met with ridicule. The cultural perception that marijuana is natural and medicinal makes it easy to minimize the problems that can arise from its use.


Just like alcohol and tobacco practices of the past, marijuana use is glamorized in retail marketing using pot leaf images and product branding.  Social media uses beautiful, young, active people including influencers, actors, musicians, and professional athletes to normalize use for our youth.  Convincing youth through the use of false messages is especially effective because today’s products do not have to be proven safe before they can be sold.  Today’s marijuana is not just a plant; anything that disrupts our kids’ path to their best possible future, cannot not be considered harmless. 

What you need to know:

The marijuana industry has millions of dollars to spend on lobbying for policies that benefit and normalize their products.  According to OpenSecrets, a nonprofit research group that tracks political spending, $5.8 million was spent on national marijuana lobbying in 2022. Many other for-profit industries (including pharmaceuticals, tobacco, and alcohol) also use a portion of their business proceeds to lobby for policies that benefit them. 


Those working to protect kids don’t have profits from an industry to finance needed prevention work.  We continue to protect kids and believe we can advance prevention work through our four pillars approach of transparency, education, empowerment, and policy change.

Fighting for local control and changes that affect your community directly including:

  • 1,000 feet from schools, daycare centers, parks, and youth-serving facilities
  • 1,000 feet from residences
  • Limiting outlet density and total number of licenses, hours of operation, and advertising
  • Requiring local enforcement and tracking of age compliance checks

Educating lawmakers and regulators on baseline policies that should be implemented at state and national levels to protect kids including:

  • Child-resistant packaging 
  • Restrict kid-friendly types, shapes, flavors, and product branding
  • Universal THC warning symbol
  • Potency cap, standardized serving size, and limits on total amount of THC per package
  • Labeling disclosures of chemicals and solvents used in production
  • Standardized health and safety disclosures
  • Presale product testing and recall authority
  • Restrictions on advertising to preclude the use of cartoon characters, social media influencers under 25 years of age, celebrity branding, and false and/or misleading statements
  • National reporting of violations along with significant fees and penalties
  • Mandatory data collection of youth use and public health impacts
  • Funding for nationwide public awareness of the negative marijuana effects on kids

Of 119 national marijuana lobbyists, more than 67% are former government employees. The fact that so many government employees move from regulating to representing the industry puts nonprofits like One Chance at a disadvantage. That is why we continue to educate government officials, at all levels, about the dangers of youth use and how to better protect our kids.

What you can do:

Prevention is also important at an individual level.  As a parent-led organization, we understand that parents and trusted adults are busy, and teenagers are sometimes outlandish and unpredictable but don’t ignore red flags such as dropping grades or an unexplained change in friends or behavior.  Identify transition periods in a child’s life including school or family changes.  While some of these changes are easily managed by an adult, to a child they can be traumatic and open the door to experimentation with marijuana and other drugs including alcohol and nicotine.


One conversation is not enough.  Keep talking and listening whenever the opportunity arises and remember youth who know their parents think underage use is wrong are 72% LESS likely to use. (2017 HKCS).

  • Offer options- such as talking to another trusted adult or professional.
  • Ask deeper questions to raise awareness (even if the questions are not answered out loud): 
  •   Is substance use a thoughtful choice? 
  •   Why are you using it?
  •   Do you set limits, then ignore them? 
  •   Are you able to take a break from using?
  •   Are you using more to get the same high? 
  •   Has use interfered with obligations, relationships, or things that are important to you?
  • Teach kids to weigh the consequences and make a decision based on facts not anecdotes from users, their peers, and social media.
  • When they say “everyone is doing it” remind them that their perception may be skewed.  2 in 5 kids overestimate the number of classmates who are using. Only 13.3% of high school students reported they used in the last 30 days (2021 HKCS).
  • Put the blame on social media and advertisers.  Our kids are being targeted by enticing and deceptive THC products.  Teens value the truth and don’t want to be manipulated. 
  • Lead by example.  Show them alternate options for reducing stress and anxiety such as exercise, yoga, meditation, hobbies, and spending time in nature.

Join One Chance to Grow Up in our continued fight to protect kids.  Facing the marijuana industry is a daunting task but small acts and small donations can make a big difference in the lives of our kids.  It is never too little or too late. There will always be a next generation that needs to be protected from an ever-changing commercialized THC market. 


With today’s addiction and mental health crisis, the stakes are higher than ever making it more important than ever to share and inform others about the dangers of THC products.  Check out for current updates on today’s available products in states where THC is commercially available. Please visit our website if you would like more information and follow us on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.


Thank you for your care and support in better protecting our kids. 


Additional Resources:

SAMHSA October is Youth Substance Use Prevention Month and Substance Misuse Prevention Month.

Mayo Clinic -Drug addiction (substance use disorder)

Regulate it! Steps to protect kids from marijuana commercialization

Skip it!  Reasons to reject marijuana commercialization in your community

Skip it!  Reasons to reject on-site public marijuana use in your community

Know Potency, Know Pot Today’s marijuana has little to do with a natural plant.