RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Virginia Cannabis Control Authority (CCA) has released its parent toolkit to help guide discussions with families about the risks associated with underage cannabis use.

The authority’s toolkit is called “Talking About Cannabis: A Parent Toolkit”.

It covers topics like:

  • Types of cannabis products
  • Effects of cannabis on the developing brain and body
  • Virginia cannabis laws
  • Tips for talking to your child about cannabis
  • Signs of possible cannabis use in youth

JM Pedini is the development director for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) and the executive director of Virginia NORML.

“Because of the increased availability of these unregulated products, both on store shelves and online, it was smart of CCA to include these in their guide, so parents know what to look for,” Pedini said. “This is a great initial resource for parents who are looking to understand what is and isn’t legal about cannabis in the commonwealth and how to talk to their kids about marijuana.”

In 2021, legislation established the CCA as the “principal source of government expertise on cannabis and vesting it with broad authority to develop, issue, and enforce rules pertaining to the existing medical cannabis market and a prospective adult-use retail market.”

According to the agency, families, health professionals, and community leaders responded to the CCA’s statewide needs assessment survey, town hall events and presentations raising concerns about a lack of resources available to help guide conversations about cannabis with youth.

Their concerns follow a recent report released by the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association. It revealed more than 600 children went to the emergency room in the first three months of 2023 for cannabis ingestion or intoxication.

According to the 2021 Virginia Youth Survey conducted by the Virginia Department of Health, 13% of high school students currently use cannabis.

To access the toolkit, click here.