Weeding Out the Facts creator Gillian Breuer at the 2015 Aspen Ideas Festival. (Bezos Family Foundation)

Teen creates sensible, educational event on modern marijuana

Colorado high school senior Gillian Breuer planned a symposium tied to 4/20 week holiday to educate fellow students, not with Drug War-era fear-mongering but with modern facts

While some of Gillian Breuer’s high school classmates openly and illegally use cannabis, Breuer has spent much of the last year forming the school’s Youth Marijuana Advisory Council and creating a sensible educational event timed to the weed holiday 4/20.

Breuer isn’t judging any of her classmates at Fort Collins’ Poudre High School, but she does want them to be aware of the known facts surrounding youths and cannabis use. And the facts put forth at Breuer’s free Weeding Out the Facts symposium will be firmly rooted in modern science and thinking — not the fear-mongering, propagandist “facts” spread by the U.S. government and others for most of the last five decades.

“Since we’re living in a new reality, especially for high school students, our goal is to clear up misconceptions that exist,” said Breuer. “That’s why it’s called Weeding Out the Facts. We want to take out the myths and share the facts.

“Since (marijuana legalization) is so new, there’s still a lot of research being done. So we want to share with students the most reliable information available — as unbiased as possible, with the facts as we know them now.”

Weeding Out the Facts, which runs 4:45-8 p.m. Friday, April 15 at Poudre High School (201 Impala Court in Fort Collins), is the culmination of work Breuer did with the Bezos Scholars Program. The leadership development program includes tuition to the esteemed Aspen Ideas Festival and guidance back at participants’ home schools and communities to “launch sustainable, local ideas festivals that transform their schools and communities,” according to the organization’s website.

“At the Aspen Ideas Festival they talked about leadership and how to create change in your community,” said Breuer. “I talked with my administrators and decided that giving youths access to reliable information regarding the consequences of marijuana use was something I wanted to do.”

Weeding Out the Facts is free and open to the public and will offer nine half-hour modules in a pick-and-choose festival format culminating with a free dinner where small groups will “talk about educational strategies that participants feel would be effective in the future,” said Breuer.

The event’s speakers include Colorado State University cognitive neuroscience professor Lucy Troup and Larimer County health educator Christa Timmerman.

Breuer said her classmates have responded to the council and the event positively and she hopes they continue after she graduates this year and continues her education at either Georgetown University or the University of Denver.

“Overall the reception to the (Youth Marijuana Advisory Council) has been positive,” said Breuer, “and we’ve had a lot of support for what we’re doing. … We have some juniors and underclassmen who are part of the board, so my hope is that it does become an annual thing.”