Youth & Marijuana

With the passing of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, the City of Sacramento has partnered with the Sacramento County Coalition for Youth, Sacramento County Alcohol and Drug Treatment Services and Department of Behavioral Health Services, to provide youth and parents with information about the new law and the effects of marijuana on youth.

Teen brains react differently to marijuana than adult brains. Adolescence is a time of rapid brain growth and regular long-term use by teens can cause long-term damage to developing brain structures.

It’s time to start the conversation

If you have young people in your life, start talking to them about marijuana.

A Columbia University Study found the best prevention for youth substance use, violence, and negative mental health outcomes is simply having a sit-down family dinner, five days a week, where parents engage with their children.

You might be surprised at how much influence your words, actions, and opinions can have on your child’s choices. Speak up and get the conversation started.

Why you should talk to your kids about marijuana:

  • Today's marijuana is more potent than it was in the 1960s and 1970s. Potency has gone from 1-2% THC to 20-30% THC in smoke form, and up to 96% THC in butane hash oil extracts and oils used in edibles. 
  • Teens are more vulnerable to addiction. Research finds that about 1 in 6 youth who use marijuana can become dependent and 1 in 3 can develop some form of problem use. Studies also show that earlier use is linked to greater risk of dependence on marijuana and other drugs.
  • Kids who use marijuana regularly can decrease their IQ and impair learning, memory, math, and reading levels. These changes can be permanent. 
  • Marijuana use while driving makes a crash twice as likely to happen.
  • Parents who talk with their kids about not using marijuana have teens who are less likely to use marijuana.

Know the Law


  • Only adults 21-years and older can purchase and use marijuana recreationally.
  • In California, using recreational marijuana is prohibited anywhere tobacco smoking is prohibited — including schools, airplanes, and most workplaces.
  • It is illegal to drive under the influence or with an open container of marijuana.
  • It is illegal to sell marijuana outside of locally-approved and licensed dispensaries.
  • Youth found in possession of marijuana will face drug education and community service requirements and possible suspension of their driver’s license.

Marijuana Edibles


Know the different ways your teen may be using marijuana. Marijuana comes in many forms other than the kind you smoke. Edibles, like candy, cookies, and brownies, waxes, and even beverages are now available. Edible marijuana is sold in quantities and potencies that are potentially lethal and damaging to the teen brain.

Marijuana and Driving


Driving under the influence of marijuana is illegal and contributes to vehicle crashes, which are the #1 cause of death for young drivers. More than 3,000 Californians are killed every year due to impaired driving and, after alcohol, marijuana is the drug most often linked to impaired driving.

Driving high can cause:

  • Impaired ability to estimate time and distance
  • Slower reaction times
  • Lack of coordination and perception

What You Can Do

Talk to your kids, talk to other parents, and help Sacramento youth focus on their future and say no to consuming marijuana.

For more prevention information, visit Sacramento County Coalition for Youth, National Institute on Drug Abuse or Just Think Twice.