Colorado starts program for kids to think about careers instead of cannabis

Colorado officials hope to deter teens and young adults from using marijuana by connecting them with entrepreneurs, artists and other professionals.

staff photo
Revelry at Chong's Choice launch party in RiNo. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)

Revelry at Chong's Choice launch party in RiNo. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)

Colorado officials hope to deter teens and young adults from using marijuana by connecting them with entrepreneurs, artists and other professionals.

The state’s calling the new marijuana prevention program “Protect What’s Next Adventures.” The first adventure kicks off Dec. 10 with 13 to 20-year-olds talking to artists about transformed a love of crafting into successful businesses.

People can register for a chance to participate in the free program at ProtectWhatsNext.com/adventures.

Protect What’s Next is a small program to be sure. It includes 12 adventures through June 2017 and is expected to reach about 240 young adults altogether — up to 20 at each event.

“Protect What’s Next Adventures” is part of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s larger campaign to remind students that although adults can legally use marijuana recreationally in the state, the drug still is illegal and has negative impacts for minors.

Getting that message across can be a challenge. A 2015 state report shows students see the drug as less “risky” than they did prior to legalization in the state.

“Underage marijuana use can affect the developing brain, making it harder for youth to go after what matters to them,” said Dr. Larry Wolk, executive director and chief medical officer of Colorado’s health department, in a statement.

The state hopes young people will be discouraged from using marijuana after hearing about the benefits of not illegally using the drug from professionals. TEDxMileHigh is partnering with the state for the program.

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Business & data reporter Adrian D. Garcia can be reached via email at agarcia@denverite.com or twitter.com/adriandgarcia.

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