Part 2 – Media Ads
In our five part series, ‘Creating Careful Cannabis Consumers’, Cashinbis intends to highlight cannabis safety by pointing out ways in which the industry, as well as the general public, can promote the responsible use of cannabis. In doing this we aim to proactively jump start the conversation about cannabis safety and how the average person can pitch in. The second part of our series centers on promoting safe cannabis use through media. Click here to check out part one – ‘DUI Testing’.
New Message: Safe and Responsible Consumption
April 20th is a date known throughout the world as an infamous stoner holiday. In previous years, law enforcement and negative ad campaigns would target this date on the calendar, pushing anti-cannabis media and creating a counter culture of social deviants. However, that message is starting to change. People both inside and outside of the cannabis community are shifting their focus from a ‘Just Say No’ mentality to one of safe and responsible consumption. Be it rolling papers containing positive messages or new awareness tactics by law enforcement, the general public is beginning to acknowledge that the cannabis community is here to stay. That being said, there are numerous ways to promote the safe use of cannabis in the media realm. The following examples are meant to inform and inspire consumers to keep that positive message moving forward.
The most crucial step in promoting safe cannabis consumption would be to accept that the culture exists in the first place. For years, law enforcement agencies would promote a ‘Just Say No’ message when it came to cannabis use. However, in 2015 law officials in Denver, Co. broke away from that message. Given the recent legalization of recreational cannabis, officers recognized the ‘Just Say No’ slogan had been thrown out the door. Instead of becoming champions for an archaic ideology, law enforcement chose to adopt a new campaign aimed at the promotion of safe use.
It is now up to the cannabis industry to cultivate responsible, knowledgeable and educated users.
The Colorado Department of Transportation attended cannabis festivals, concerts and celebrations in hopes to reach their target demographic(men 21-34). The agency handed out snacks with reminders to ‘munch, not drive, after smoking pot’. In addition, DOT set up free arcade games at dispensaries riddled with ‘Don’t Smoke and Drive’ messages. Kudos to the progressive thinking by Colorado’s government agencies. By recognizing the industry instead of remaining ignorant to its existence, the entire community can band together to promote safe consumption.
So now that we have acknowledged the community’s existence, we can further the conversation on socially acceptable ways to market safe use. We Save Lives, a high safety advocacy group, have recently contributed to the conversation by creating a new rolling paper that promotes safe cannabis consumption. ‘Pot slows your reaction. Don’t smoke and drive’ is the message imprinted on the rolling paper. In addition, the opposite side of the paper shows to cars which, as you roll the paper, crash into each other(think cartoon flipbook).
The agency handed out snacks with reminders to ‘munch, not drive, after smoking pot’.
Weed Advisor Rolling Papers
We Save Lives distributed 2,000 packs of these ‘Weed Advisor Rolling Papers’ during the World Cannabis Week in Denver recently to rave reviews. The company is currently producing more papers to distribute on a larger scale. The rave reviews should come at no surprise, as the product provides a service for the cannabis community in addition to safe use propaganda. Combining these two applications, both of which support the industry, will only serve to improve the perception of the cannabis industry in the public eye.
Ad Campaign Designed to Promote Safe Consumption
In addition to law enforcement strategies and product branding, media advertising is also pursuing a change in ideology. Throughout Colorado, cannabis activists as well as businesses within the cannabis industry are banning together to push out an ad campaign designed to promote safe consumption. Part of the advertising’s focus is to dismantle the ‘This is your brain on drugs’ message that debuted back in the 1980’s. Back then advertising used scare tactics to make deviants out of anyone who consumed cannabis.
“So far, every campaign designed to educate the public about marijuana has relied on fear-mongering and insulting marijuana users.” – Mason Tvert – Marijuana Policy Project Spokesman
The new advertising campaigns will caution consumers to use responsibly as well as warn first timers about the potential effects to help them plan accordingly. Through billboards, posters, television ads, magazine ads and brochures the plan is to saturate the market with as much safe use information as possible. Not only will this provide quality information to the average or novice cannabis consumer, but just like the change in law enforcement policy and product branding, this safe use propaganda will also serve to further de-stigmatize the industry.
Instead of becoming champions for an archaic ideology, law enforcement chose to adopt a new campaign aimed at the promotion of safe use.
These three examples are just some of the ways in which the general public and the cannabis industry are unifying to promote a safe use ideology. Law enforcement, product branding and media advertising are all changing due to the acknowledgement of the booming cannabis industry. Now, more than ever, it is important for cannabis advocates, businesses and consumers to continue the spread of responsible use messages.
The cannabis industry, as a whole, is projected to experience unprecedented growth over the next decade. As state-by-state legislation continues to unfold, a new culture of cannabis consumer is being created. It is now up to the cannabis industry to cultivate responsible, knowledgeable and educated users. These examples are great first steps, but hopefully they are just building blocks. With great power comes great responsibility and the cannabis industry is taking the initiative to make sure they are at the forefront of positive, responsible consumption propaganda.
What role do you see the media playing in the future of the cannabis industry? What will it take for the mainstream media to fully embrace cannabis culture? Join the conversation and comment below!