The first cross-national symposium on Cannabis Legalization and Youth will be held November 15th and 16th  (Thursday-Friday) 2018 in Boulder, Colorado.  Day 1 (Thursday) is open to Invitees and the General Public.  Day 2 (Friday) is open to Invitees only.

The purpose of the meeting is to bring together substance use researchers, educators, agency staff and policy makers from the United States and Canada to discuss lessons learned since the legalization of retail cannabis in Colorado and Washington 2012.

The meeting is the result of a collaboration between researchers at the Institute of Behavioral Science at CU Boulder, at the University in Victoria, British Columbia and at St. Francis Xavier University, Nova Scotia. 

The changing policy environment created by the legalization and commercialization of marijuana creates complex challenges for youth, parents, educators and public health. In Canada acceptance has been fueled by untested medical claims, a proliferation of dispensaries, and largely unregulated advertising. Compared to the past, youth in the current cohorts may also be exposed to higher levels of tetrahydrocannabinol than previously existed and they will continue to be the target of illegal sales, particularly of low costs products. Clear messaging for youth is needed to inform decision makers, educators, parents and youth. Producers and distributors also require the best science to create accurate warnings and labeling of products.

This collaborative conference will take advantage of experiences in Colorado and Washington in managing these changes since 2012 as well as the burgeoning longitudinal research on use in the transition from adolescence to early adulthood.


The symposium will bring together substance use researchers, educators and policy makers with the following objectives.

  1. Review and discuss lessons learned from recent longitudinal research, legislation and evidence-based prevention strategies concerning marijuana use in adolescents and young adults.
  2. Identify key targets for amplifying cross-disciplinary (education, law, psychology, and public health) and cross-sectoral (legislative, community, high school and post-secondary education, health) preventive efforts that protect youth from the harmful effects of marijuana.
  3. Facilitate coordinated cross-national research collaborations aiming to advance the prevention of underage and harmful marijuana use through onsite presentations, discussion, networking and follow-up.


The format will have about 60 attendees together in one room, include short presentations by experts in the field of youth substance use and marijuana legislation, panel discussions, and action group meetings designed to identify and disseminate lessons learned, and to create cross-national research collaborations and approaches to intervention.  Each panel presentation is followed by a half hour of full-room group discussion. 

All panel presentations will be video recorded.

Breakfast, lunch and refreshments are provided Thursday and Friday. 


There is no registration fee, however, registration is limited to 70 participants so please do register in advance 

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