Prevention and Education

One in five Washington 10th graders have used marijuana recently

Washington Initiative 502 (PDF) passed in November of 2012 and went into effect July 1, 2015. I-502 directed the Washington State Department of Health to implement the following:

  • A cannabis use public health hotline that provides referrals to substance abuse treatment providers, utilizes evidence-based or researched-based public health approaches to minimizing the harms associated with cannabis use, and does not solely advocate an abstinence-only approach.
  • A grants program for local health departments or other local community agencies that supports development and implementation of coordinated intervention strategies for the prevention and reduction of cannabis use by youth.
  • Media-based education campaigns across television, internet, radio, print, and out-of-home advertising, separately reaching youth and adults, that provide medically and scientifically accurate information about the health and safety risks posed by cannabis use.

The goal of the department's Cannabis Prevention and Education Program is to reduce initiation and use of cannabis by youth (ages 12-20), especially among populations most adversely affected by cannabis use throughout Washington state.

The first retail cannabis stores opened in July 2014. Cannabis remains illegal for people under the age of 21.

As directed by Initiative 502 (I-502), the Washington State Department of Health provides the following resources:

  • A public health hotline:
  • Community grants that support the prevention and reduction of cannabis use by youth.
  • Media-based education campaign, You Can targets youth ages 12-17.