Canada has long been a beacon of progress within the cannabis legalization movement. The country legalized cannabis for medicinal use in 2001 and will legalize the recreational use of cannabis on October 17th, 2018. Coinciding with the legalization of cannabis, Canada will experiment with many regulatory procedures in an effort to make the process a smooth one. To assist in that process, the Canadian health department has announced that they will spend more than $100 million over the next six years on cannabis related public education.
A Campaign Based on Facts
Unlike many other previous drug education campaigns, the Health Canada program will not be taking a “stay away” approach. Instead, the program will be based upon promoting the facts regarding cannabis legalization and use. Professor David Hammond, from the school of public health at the University of Waterloo said, “We’re seeing an evolution in the type of messages and if you really want to connect with consumers, don’t tell them whether they should or should not do it. Give them information that will inform their decision.”
Multiple different Health Canada education programs have already been implemented including a social media campaign aimed at cannabis-impaired driving. Another ad campaign was focused on answering some often-asked questions by teens about cannabis. One video featured a school resource officer answering questions from kids about how cannabis feels, is it more dangerous to drive drunk or high, and how old one has to be to begin cannabis use. Campaigns like this are incredibly important as many adults and children alike may not know the facts regarding cannabis yet.
High Price Tag Worth It
The total cost over the next 5 years of cannabis related education is expected to be around $100 million dollars. According to CBC, this includes “$62.5 million over five years, proposed in last year’s federal budget, to support community organizations and Indigenous groups that are educating their communities on the risks associated with cannabis use.”
The main goal of the Health Canada campaigns is to spread awareness about the do’s and don’ts of cannabis. With such a massive legalization program rolling out in the fall of 2018, it is important for regulators to make a facts campaign a priority in order to protect the health of the community and make sure that Canada’s cannabis legalization can become an example for other countries considering the same.
Lane is based in Southern California and is a content curator for Medical Marijuana 411. He focuses his research into finding informative stories that can help medical marijuana patients better understand their diverse medicine.