Get Sensible is a project funded by Health Canada
Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy (CSSDP) is a grassroots network of youth and students who are concerned about the negative impact our drug policies have on individuals and communities. We consider drug use a health and human rights issue rather than a criminal-legal issue. We advocate for evidence-based responses to reduce and prevent the harms associated with drug use and drug criminalization.
CSSDP provides education and resources to empower and mobilize members to participate in the political process at all levels in order to support sensible drug policies. In this way, CSSDP endeavours to achieve a safer and more just future, while combating counterproductive drug policies, including those that directly harm young people. CSSDP collaborates with other organizations and campaigns to support harm reduction, evidence-based legislation, and drug policy reform at the local, national, and international level.
HARM REDUCTION | CANNABIS EDUCATION | MEANINGFUL INCLUSION | ANTI-OPPRESSIVE TECHNIQUES | NON-JUDGEMENTAL CONVERSATIONS
Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy (CSSDP) and the Get Sensible team want to meaningfully recognize the ways in which drug policies and institutions that criminalize, punish and ostracize drug users (policing, health care, education) have historically been and continue to be tools of violence weaponized against people who use cannabis and especially Indigenous peoples and Indigenous youth on Turtle Island.Solidarity Statement
Sensible Cannabis Education Toolkit
In September 2016, CSSDP held a youth roundtable on cannabis legalization and regulation titled, “Youth Speak: Cannabis Policy in the 21st Century.” Attended by diverse young people in Toronto, Ontario, CSSDP gathered input for a youth-focused submission to the Task Force on Marijuana Legalization and Regulation. A consensus emerged among attendees that there is a lack of evidence-based cannabis education in their schools, families, communities, and online. Youth highlighted the need for education that prioritizes the development of youth’s “cannabis literacy” by including evidence-based assessments of risk and harm reduction principles. Cannabis literacy refers to the knowledge and skills required to make informed choices around cannabis use. Youth described the need for drug conversations and education to start sooner, with age-appropriate content, and highlighted the importance of creating content with the input of young people, including those who use cannabis. The work led by CSSDP was some of the only consultations the Task Force participated in directly with youth, and we are proud to have led the inclusion of youth voices in this critical national conversation and to be acknowledged in their final report for this work (for more information, see the the Final Report of the Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation).Building upon the roundtable, this toolkit was created as a first step towards sensible youth cannabis education.
Aligning with Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy’s mandate to support drug education efforts, and building upon youth consultations on cannabis legalization and regulation conducted in Canada, the Sensible Cannabis Education toolkit and the Get Sensible campaign responds to calls for the development and dissemination of realistic and evidence-based cannabis education for youth.
Created by young people for educators and parents, the Toolkit aims to support adults in having informed and non-judgmental conversations about cannabis. It is a comprehensive resource that outlines evidence-based education and harm reduction information, recognizing that youth who use cannabis have a right to health.
The #GetSensible campaign strives to meaningfully include and centralize young people in getting our message out. It is run by a team of youth and driven by our network of peers, many of whom are young people with lived experience. We hope to reach young people with important health messages that resonate with them, presented to them by people they relate to, in the languages they use and mediums they want.
Generally, the main goals of drug education is are to provide accurate information and awareness of resources, develop decision making skills and health literacy, reduce the risks of consumption, and support increasing an individual’s risk competency. However, the toolkit and campaign aim to go beyond these mandates.
While there is no silver bullet approach for talking about cannabis with youth, this toolkit provides guiding principles and a curriculum for youth cannabis education
We know there is no single agreed upon model to cannabis education and that context matters. Even if a particular approach is considered exemplary in one context, it should always be adapted to local situations, rather than simply replicated.
Former Project Manager>
Sean (they/them) is a recent graduate of the University of Calgary’s Community Health Sciences Master of Science program with a specialization in Disability studies and starts medical school in July 2022. They are passionate about social justice, queer community, drug and sex work decriminalization and they are a proud local activist in the Calgary community.
Sean has two beautiful cats, loves sunshine, dancing in their kitchen (what else is there to do during a pandemic) and eating all the vegan junk food.
Project Manager - CEO>
Heath (they/them) is a youth mental health activist, public speaker, and person with lived experience of drug use and mental illness. They believe that adolescent drug use is primarily a health issue, emphasizing that young people are autonomous individuals with complex needs and uniquely valuable insights, all of whom have an equal right to health services and evidence based information free of judgement, stigma, or shame.
In their spare time, Heath likes to watch cartoons, and draw fanart of their friends and of their friends' pets. They've also seen nearly every drug PSA available on the internet.
Project Manager - CFO>
Kiah (She/Her) studied Comparative Religion and Political Science at Concordia University. She has been involved in several harm reduction and drug policy initiatives. Working with organizations like CSSDP and the Heart Tattoo Society. She recently developed a free online course for youth on Cannabis and Mental Health with the Schizophrenia Society of Canada and YouthREX. Kiah intends to continue her work in reducing barriers around drug education and harm reduction.
In her free time Kiah likes to nap, knit, and talk to her roommates about reality television.
Seb (he/him) is a Liberal Arts graduate turned coder. He designs and develops websites, with a strong focus on helping non-profits, artists and professors build their web presence. In his spare time he can be found playing board games, doing yoga, producing music, or looking for the right dog to adopt.
Seb loves to play board games, but he almost never wins.
Illustrator + Designer>
Brian Jiang (they/them) is a Tkaronto-based freelance artist and illustrator. They are a recent graduate of OCAD University. Their work is informed by their love of discordant yet satisfying colour combinations, the balance between gestural forms and intricate details, folk art, and analogue media. They are passionate about art for social justice and community engagement.
In their spare time, they are g̶r̶u̶d̶g̶i̶n̶g̶l̶y̶ lovingly cleaning up after their feline familiar and probably munching on a 90% cacao chocolate bar.
“Milo (they/them) is a digital artist & illustrator, who uses their creative skills as a means of activism and a way to educate others. Milo’s work mostly focuses on LGBTQ+ issues, mental health, and chronic illness/disability. They believe deeply in the power of mutual aid, community care, reparations, and harm reduction.
In their free time, you can find Milo playing video games, taking care of plants, or cuddling their two rambunctious kitties.
French and Spanish Translator>
Laura (she/her) is a student in International Development and Political Science at McGill University and Director of Community Outreach and Events at Project VoxCann. She now has the opportunity to work as a translator for CSSDP’s upcoming projects. As a Colombian immigrant from Quebec, Laura is interested in the socio-political aspects of national and international drug policies to reach a better understanding of the impacts of the War on Drugs on her home country.
In her free time, Laura likes to stretch, dance and vibe out to the sound of music.
French Translator >
Gabriel·le Villeneuve is a white transfem nonbinary lover of literature and social justice. The community sector allows them to use translation to serve marginalized communities. For several years now they have been collaborating with many community organizations that serve youth, 2SLGBTQ+ people and people who use drugs.
Dr. Jenna Valleriani works with businesses, not for profits and government sectors, with a focus on social impact driven work in cannabis. Formerly the Director of Social Impact & Advocacy for a large cannabis company, she led their first integrated social purpose strategy, focused on social justice, medical cannabis access, and community reinvestment. Dr. Valleriani’s graduate and post graduate studies focused on cannabis, and include a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at University of British Columbia, Faculty of Medicine, and a PhD from the University of Toronto. As a Strategic Advisor for Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Dr. Valleriani has testified as an expert witness to the Senate of Canada in the lead up to cannabis legalization. With over a decade of experience in cannabis, she regularly consults with governments, researchers and policy groups in Canada and internationally on sensible cannabis policy reform.
Nimkiins ndizhinikaaz bineshiinh ndondem Okikendawt ndonjiibaa Anishinaabe nini ndow. Connor “Little Thunder” Lafortune is from Dokis First Nation on Robinson Huron Treaty territory of 1850. He just finished his third year at Nipissing University with a Double Honours Major in Indigenous Studies and Gender Equality and Social Justice with a minor in Legal Studies. He works for various organizations as a speaker, writer, and activist. Connor’s work focuses primarily on harm reduction, Life Promotion, mental health, and the intersections of being Indigenous, Francophone, and Queer.
The Get Sensible campaign is thrilled to be working with several organizations across the country. Our formal partnerships include:
Health Canada, Substance use and addiction program (SUAP)
The National Institute for Cannabis Health and Education (NICHE)
Group de recherche et d’intervention psychosociale (GRIP)
The Therapeutic, Recreational and Problematic Substance Use Laboratory
Canadian Drug Policy Coalition
Our supporters and friends include:
SACY, Boys and Girls Club, We Matter, COMPASS, YouthRex, VoxCann, Cannabis & Psychosis: Exploring the Link
The Sensible Cannabis Education Resources
Check out our Cannabis Education resources!Get Resources