Cannabis Harms Young Brains

Don’t let youth get high on your supply.
Keep it secure.

Driving High IS Impaired Driving

Don’t drive high.
Get a ride.

Nassau County-based PACT/YES partnered with Suffolk County-based Town of Babylon Cares to create a cross-county cannabis awareness campaign to help keep youth and our communities safe. Multiple sectors of community partners contributed to the creation of the campaign to make sure it resonates with all community members throughout Long Island, New York.

Top 10 Things to Know about Cannabis
Cannabis is only legal in New York State for those 21 years of age or older. Those under the age of 21 cannot possess or consume cannabis legally.
Legal cannabis is only sold at licensed dispensaries, not at local convenience stores or gas stations.
Cannabis potency has been steadily increasing over the last few decades.1
High-potency cannabis can potentially cause unintended side effects for users, especially youth.2
While more research is necessary, the evidence available indicates that second-hand smoke from cannabis can have adverse health effects on others.2
Gummies, candies and other edibles may look like normal products to children!
Legally sold edibles should not have packaging or marketing that appears to be geared towards children or which depicts versions of known brands.2
It is illegal to drive under the influence of cannabis. You can be charged with a DUI and are subject to the same penalties as driving drunk.2
The burning of cannabis by anyone in a vehicle is illegal under the open container law.2
Delta 8 is a strain of cannabis that is illegal to sell and manufacture in New York State, however many gas stations and convenience stores are illegally selling this product.

It is Important to Secure and Monitor your Cannabis

According to the New York City Poison Control Center, in NYC, Long Island and Westchester combined, the cases of exposure to cannabis products to children less than 5 years old has increased from 3 in 2018 to 146 as of 2022.3 Accidentally consuming edibles is a risk for children and pets that can result in cannabis toxicity or the need for emergency medical attention.2 Children may become very sick and have difficulty sitting up, standing or breathing.4

If a child has had accidental exposure to cannabis or cannabis products of any kind, call the Poison Control Center at (800) 222-1222 or visit your local emergency room. Contact your vet immediately if your pet has ingested a cannabis-containing product.

Health Impact on Youth and Young Adults

Certain compounds in cannabis like THC can affect the brain in ways that can impact behavior, mood, thoughts or perceptions, and can be intoxicating.2 It is important to recognize that intoxication can be felt differently in different people and depends on the type of cannabis product being consumed, how much is being consumed and whether someone is new to consuming cannabis. The intoxicating effects of cannabis consumed in edibles or beverages can be delayed and may not be fully felt until four or more hours after consumption.2

Cannabis can be harmful to growing brains and have long-term health and social impacts. THC in cannabis can affect the developing brain. The part of the brain that is responsible for making decisions (the prefrontal cortex) is one of the last parts of the brain that develops and is particularly impacted by cannabis use.2,5 Young people’s brains are not done developing until the age of 25. Negative cognitive effects can include difficulty thinking and solving problems, problems with memory and learning, reduced coordination, difficulty maintaining attention, and problems with school and social life after consistent consumption.2,5


If you intend to use cannabis, be sure it is kept in a safe place. Take these steps to help prevent children and pets from accessing cannabis:

  • Obtain a lockable storage container to keep your cannabis, INCLUDING cannabis-infused foods and candies.
  • Keep cannabis products in a high place, out of reach of children.
  • Do not leave cannabis products out when not in use.
  • If there are other trusted adults in the house, create a check-in system to ensure cannabis is put away safely.

Cannabis Harms Young Brains: Don’t let youth get high on your supply. Keep it secure.

Driving While Under the Influence of Cannabis is Impaired Driving

According to the Institute for Traffic Management and Research:

  • In 2018 in New York State, there were 314 fatalities for motor vehicle crashes that were related to drugs not including alcohol.7
  • In 2020 in New York State, there were 3,931 impaired driving crashes and 27,268 impaired driving arrests.8

Cannabis should always be consumed responsibly, and never before driving or operating heavy machinery.

The rule of thumb is: if you feel different, you will drive different.2

Studies have found a direct relationship between blood THC concentration and impaired driving.9 Often cannabis is combined with alcohol, further increasing the risk of crashes. And remember, if you’ve consumed edibles, it can take as long as four hours for it to take effect.  Several sources suggest that following acute use, cannabis consumers should wait a minimum of 3 to 4 hours before attempting to drive (the majority of driving studies have been performed on inhaled cannabis in younger subjects).10 If you’re not sure if you’re high or impaired, stay put, and don’t take the chance of harming yourself or others by driving.


If you intend to drive, the safest option is not to use cannabis. Take these steps to help prevent impaired driving if you plan to use, are using or have used cannabis:

  • Remain home when you consume cannabis, or plan to stay where you are using for a few hours or overnight.
  • Make a plan to get a ride home from someone who has not been drinking alcohol and/or using drugs.
  • Decide not to drive and remind your friends and family to do the same if they have consumed cannabis.
  • Choose a trusted designated driver who will not use cannabis when you are going out with a group of people you know.
  • Use a rideshare service, call a taxi or use another form of public transportation.

Driving High IS Impaired Driving: Don’t drive high. Get a ride.


  • Start the conversation
    • It’s never too early to talk with our children about the risks of cannabis use.
    • Set clear expectations and consequences.
  • Give your child ways to say no to cannabis and other drugs
    • Role play social situations where your child is offered cannabis by a peer. 
    • Let your child know that it is fine to walk away from someone, including a friend, who is offering drugs and, if needed, to call you for a ride home. 
  • Model positive behavior
    • You are a role model for your child so think about what you do and the message it sends.
    • Avoid cannabis use around your child or teen.

Click here for more tips for parents. 

 Important phone numbers:
NYS – (212) P-O-I-S-O-N-S
1 (800) 222-1222

For more information:


  1. ElSohly, M. A., Mehmedic, Z., Foster, S., Gon, C., Chandra, S., & Church, J. C. (2016). Changes in Cannabis Potency Over the Last 2 Decades (1995-2014): Analysis of Current Data in the United States. Biological psychiatry, 79(7), 613–619.
  2. Office of Cannabis Management. (n.d.). Adult use. Office of Cannabis Management. Retrieved December 28, 2022, from
  3.  (2022, October 11). Poison Control Data.
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, October 19). Marijuana and Public Health- Poisoning. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved December 28, 2022, from
  5. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, September 8). Marijuana and Public Health- Teens. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved December 28, 2022, from
  6. Practical_theorist_12_cannabis_the_current_state_of_affairs_final.pdf (
  7. Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research. (2022, December). New York State Fact Sheet on drug -related fatal & personal injury crashes*. Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research. Retrieved August 23, 2023, from
  8. Institute for Traffic Management and Research. (2022, December). New York State Fact Sheet on Impaired Driving Arrests and Crashes. Institute for Traffic Management and Research. Retrieved August 23, 2023, from
  9. NIDA. 2022, April 15. Does marijuana use affect driving?. Retrieved from on 2022, December 28
  10. Pearlson, G. D., Stevens, M. C., & D’Souza, D. C. (2021, September 24). Cannabis and Driving. Frontiers in psychiatry. Retrieved December 29, 2022, from