Whether or not we have children of our own, we all have a vested interest in the next generation.  If nothing else, who doesn’t want someone capable running our society when we’re in our 90s and may have less energy to contribute the way we once did?  In short- we all have good reasons for ensuring that British Columbia’s and Canada’s youth today have everything they need to become happy, healthy, contributing members of society.  Part of that includes ensuring healthy choices in relation to substances like marijuana, alcohol, and other drugs.

In a context where our federal government has declared an intent to legalize marijuana, the InnerChange Foundation has concerns about what this will mean for youth.  To be clear- we are not disagreeing with legalization.  And most British Columbians  agree (74%)  that marijuana legalization is appropriate.  The InnerChange Foundation is most concerned about ensuring that the impact of legalization on youth gets thorough consideration.  For us, this means setting youth up for success, through appropriate programs and services that help youth make the right choices for themselves, recognizing that brain development is ongoing through to age 25.  We have the opportunity to learn from other jurisdictions with legalization experience.  While not endorsing a single approach, we note that Oregon has allocated substantial funding, and acted upon, goals for giving youth useful, engaging information on safe usage, empowering youth to make their own decisions about when and how they will use- if at all, through its  stay true to you campaign .

To do our part, we have reached out to a range of other agencies and groups that share our concerns.  Of most importance: building agreement on how we wish to see policy-makers and service providers respond to legalization in ways that help youth make healthy choices.  We are in the process of planning for a workshop in May or June that we hope will allow for information exchange and practical discussion that will help us do the best by our youth.  Our partners to date include the agencies below, and we are grateful for their vision and contributions to this important initiative.  We are also happy to include new partners.  Watch for future postings on this topic.

Partners Joining Us to Date:

City of Vancouver

University of Victoria Centre for Addictions Research of British Columbia (CARBC)

Vancouver Police Department Foundation

Vancouver Coastal Health Authority

Moms Stop the Harm

British Columbia Ministry of Health

Canadian Centre for Drug Policy Alternatives

From Grief to Action

BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres