Colorado Tries 'Good To Know' Education Campaign About Legal Marijuana
By Steve Elliott
Colorado is launching a major, $5.7 million campaign to educate both residents and tourists on how to responsibly use marijuana.
The "Good To Know" campaign will begin hitting the airwaves, newspapers and the Net this month, one year after recreational marijuana sales began in the Rocky Mountain State, reports Trevor Hughes at USA Today.
The "bright, neighborly" approach is designed to educate without alienating, and is not an aversion campaign, according to Dr. Larry Wolk, Colorado's chief medical officer and director of the state Department of Public Health and Environment.
The friendly tone of the ad campaign is illustrated by the spot that points out you can't legally drive a car after smoking pot -- it adds what "walking, hopping and skipping are allowed," reports the Associated Press.
The campaign appears to be the first comprehensive effort by any state to educate consumers and marijuana use and regulations after legalization. "This is still uncharted territory for us, and really for everyone in the United States," Wolk said on Monday.
Funding for the educational campaign comes from taxes paid by those buying marijuana at the state's hundreds of legal marijuana stores. The message was designed by state health officials in cooperation with marijuana merchants and anti-drug activists.
Colorado legislators ordered the campaign, along with tracking of cannabis use and public perception. An initial investigation found that only 27 percent of Coloradans knew it is illegal to smoke pot in public, and only 23 percent knew that weed can only be sold to adults 21 and older.
"I've always said we need to start treating marijuana like the drug it is, not the drug some fear it to be," said Democratic state Rep. Jonathan Singer, a former drug and alcohol counselor. Singer helped write much of the legislation governing legal marijuana in the state.