Get Sensible: A national cannabis education campaign, for youth by youth

The Get Sensible campaign is a national, educational and youth-focused project in the early stages of implementation and is the result of a Health Canada grant. Our team consists of 4 youth hired to plan and execute a series of educational workshops, develop and launch digital education tools, disseminate CSSDP’s Sensible Cannabis Education Toolkit, translate it into three additional languages (Punjabi, Spanish and Mandarin), and increase our capacity for knowledge mobilization and translation. In addition to centering youth perspectives, the toolkit prioritizes harm reduction and empowers educators and families to engage in non-judgemental, evidencebased conversations on cannabis use and its impacts on young people. Furthermore, we prioritize meaningful engagement of youth who use cannabis and their expertise by recruiting, training and adequately compensating them to help facilitate workshops. Get Sensible is a project for youth, by youth, aimed at challenging the ways people engage in conversations and education about cannabis.

Presenters and slide deck

Heath D'Alessio (they/them), Program Facilitator

Heath has lived experience of mental illness and cannabis use. They enjoy sharing their experience candidly to reduce the stigma around mental illness and promote compassion for individuals, advocating for drug education and policy reform that centres harm reduction and seeks to support people rather than punishing them.

Sean Bristowe, Program Manager

Sean (they/them) is currently Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy’s Program Manager helping to launch the Get Sensible campaign: a youth-led national dialogue on sensible cannabis education. Although originally from Quebec, they graduated from the University of Calgary’s Masters of Community Health Sciences and Disability studies program in Spring 2020 and continue to work, live and play in Moh'kins'tsis (Calgary). They are a dedicated drug policy activist helping to address the opioid poisoning crisis in Alberta, Canada and they are passionate about advocating for the federal government to decriminalize drugs. Because of their lived experience and background, they are also involved in social justice and equity oriented community work, especially projects that promote queer and trans liberation.


Key Learnings

  • Meaningful inclusion of youth starts with adequate compensation for their time and expertise and prioritizes engagement from the beginning.
  • Sensible cannabis education includes open, honest and evidence-based dialogue about cannabis use, which includes discussions about not only the harms or risks associated with cannabis, but also the benefits or reasons youth choose to use. Youth choose and the scientific evidence supports harm reduction education over abstinence-only delivery.
  • The purpose of the Get Sensible campaign is to create numerous opportunities for youth to be involved and centred in the dialogue on cannabis use that occurs nationally. Furthermore, Get Sensible and the team strive to empower youth to make informed decisions about their cannabis use and ultimately our goals are to help promote safe and informed conversations between adults and youth from a harm reduction perspective.


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