In November 2014, Oregon voters passed Measure 91, legalizing recreational marijuana for adults over 21, effective July, 2015. Big Village is a coalition of diverse stakeholders working to reduce youth substance abuse and its harmful effects in central Portland. After alcohol, Marijuana is the most commonly abused drug among Portland youth, with 24% of 11th graders reporting regular use. Big Village’s prevention work is shaped by the following principles:

Recreational marijuana is illegal for youth under 21 years old

Research indicates that marijuana may hurt the developing adolescent brain

The average age of first use of marijuana among youth who smoke marijuana is 12-14 years old. Research indicates that early and regular marijuana use can have a profound impact on the developing adolescent brain, including increased risk for addiction, attention deficits, reduced IQ, and reduced executive functioning.

Marijuana can lead to negative health and social consequences for youth

Youth who smoke marijuana are at increased risk for poor school performance, unplanned pregnancy, driving under the influence and higher levels of delinquency.

Big Village will use the following strategies to reduce youth use:

  1. Educate youth, parents, schools and communities on the negative effects of youth marijuana use. Ensure that education strategies are effective and culturally relevant.

  1. Reduce promotion of marijuana to minors

    • Restrict youth friendly products and marketing to youth

  1. Reduce underage access to marijuana

    • Reduce retail availability through price, density, hours of sales, and retailer training

    • Reduce youth access to marijuana from social sources (i.e. family and friends)

  1. Ensure fair and appropriate consequences for underage marijuana users and enabling adults

    • Implement effective minor in possession strategy

    • Develop appropriate and consistent school policies regarding marijuana use

    • Develop consistent and visible consequences for public smoking and providing to minors