Column, Letter

Are 4/20 events a bad influence on youth?

Dear Editor,

Recreational marijuana is legal in Vermont. 4/20 Day promotes a growing industry nationwide. Cannabis companies leverage the day as another opportunity to promote the industry and its products, similar to alcohol companies during the Super Bowl or St. Patrick’s Day.  

These events have long moved past being counterculture protests. It’s a growing market that needs new customers and must maintain its current customer base. It is hard to ignore the influence when celebrities, influencers, and businesses attend large events like The Cannabis Cup and push products and brands. 

Parents should be aware of this influence and have constructive conversations with their kids about marijuana and its associated risks. 

“Prevention and education efforts are effective at any age and go a long way at preventing drug use altogether,” said Marcel Gemme of 

In Vermont, 14% of 12 to 17-year-olds reported using drugs in the last month. Among those teens, 83% reported using marijuana, according to The National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics.  

Consider some of the following pointers when having these conversations.

Talking often and having short discussions is more effective than one big talk. It helps to build an open and trusting relationship. 

It’s ok to show disapproval for underage cannabis use yet reinforce why they should avoid it. Make your views and rules about marijuana clear. 

Avoid lecturing, threatening, or using scare tactics. 

Be a reliable source of factual information. Listen to their opinions and answer their questions; the conversation goes both ways. 

Help them develop skills to manage and avoid peer pressure. 

Always show concern for their wellness, health, and success. 

Lead by example; actions speak louder than words. 

The conversations change as they age, but the principle of providing education and preventative tools should remain the same. 

4/20 events have an influence on youth. There are risks with using THC at this age because the brain is actively developing and continues to develop until age 25. 

Parents’ conversations with their children now can help them make responsible choices later in life.

Jody Boulay is a Community Outreach Coordinator for

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