Health Canada in particular has a responsibility to proactively educate the public about the risks and benefits of cannabis products. The department has started the first of their planned investment in cannabis public education, awareness and surveillance including $62.5-million to support community organizations and Indigenous groups that are educating their communities on the risks associated with cannabis use.
The public safety campaigns and law enforcement training programs will focus on preventing and reducing anticipated harms like drug-impaired driving and teen drug abuse. Teens and young adults are considered at greater risk from products that contain THC than adults are because their brains are still developing.
Included in the campaign will be billboards, social media, television, and radio. A nuanced strategy, the creative takes a different approach than traditional abstinence-based communications around cannabis.
Instead, Health Canada appears to be taking more of an educational approach, and is taking the time to engage with teens with interactive activities where they congregate – on You Tube, at music festivals, fairs, sports events, shopping centers, school campuses.
What is unusual about this government campaign is that abstinence is not part of the discussion. Instead, young adults are being served knowledge which will hopefully and respectfully inform them about how, when and where it’s appropriate to consume cannabis products.
Governments being what they are, we’ll withhold opinion until we see the campaign in market and poll the target market to gauge effectiveness.
Let us know what you think!