With April 20 (4/20) just around the corner, a date commonly associated with cannabis, Prevent Coalition is reminding adults in Southwest Washington who have cannabis in the home to keep it secure to prevent small children and teens from accidental ingestion.
Most Washington State teens are not using cannabis, yet a study from 2021 indicated that 37% of tenth graders in Southwest Washington and 32% statewide said cannabis was easy to get.
To help drive home the importance of properly securing cannabis at home, the Coalition has partnered with local cannabis retailers, community organizations and other prevention coalitions to develop an award-winning social media and point of purchase campaign called Secure Your Cannabis. The program is funded by the Washington State Department of Health Youth Cannabis and Commercial Tobacco Prevention Program.
Any time customers purchase cannabis products from participating retailers, they will receive a reminder card encouraging them to secure their products and talk with youth about substances.
“The brain is still developing through adolescence, and cannabis use during this stage can alter its chemistry,” explained Jesse Jimenez, Community Prevention Project Coordinator for Prevention Coalition and ESD 112. “So not only is it important to keep cannabis secure and away from children and teens, it’s also equally important to have nonjudgmental conversations with young people about how cannabis impacts their brains differently than adults.”
This year, all four Vancouver locations of The Herbery are participating in the Secure Your Cannabis campaign.
“As an industry we have a responsibility and obligation to actively work to keep cannabis products out of the hands of minors and children,” said Jim Mullen, co-owner of The Herbery. “One of the fundamental requirements of being a cannabis retail licensee is to prevent access of cannabis products to minors and we are grateful for the opportunity to show our support to the Prevent Coalition and their Secure Your Cannabis program.”
In addition to the point of purchase cards, Prevent Coalition and ESD 112 will promote Secure Your Cannabis graphics on their social media channels over the coming days and weeks.
The Secure Your Cannabis campaign was recently featured on a live television news interview on KOIN-TV, where you can learn more about the award-winning campaign by watching the clip at bit.ly/scryrcnnbis. You can and download campaign materials at bit.ly/secureyourcannabis. The website outlines the campaign, offers tools for talking to youth about Cannabis, describes laws in Washington and provides materials you can download to implement point of purchase projects.
ABOUT PREVENT COALITION:
Supported by the fiscal agent ESD 112, Prevent Coalition is a community coalition formed in 2003 to increase collaboration, awareness, and reduce youth substance use in Southwest Washington. Prevent also implements initiatives for rural communities across Washington state. As a community mobilizer, we’re creating a culture promoting healthy choices; advocating for policies and regulations that protect, empower and nurture youth; and facilitating positive opportunities for youth to be involved and thrive. For more info, visit www.preventcoalition.org.