Canada’s federal cannabis law, which legalizes adult use of cannabis nationwide, sets aside considerable resources for public safety campaigns and law enforcement training programs. Aimed at preventing and reducing anticipated harms like drug-impaired driving and teen drug abuse, these programs are a major part of Canada’s approach to legal weed, and sticking points for legalization skeptics.
But there’s reason to be skeptical of drug education efforts, especially in societies where cannabis use is popular, increasingly mainstream and, like Canada, legally ratified. Recognizing this to be the case, Health Canada, the government organization responsible for cannabis education, is experimenting with a new, “nuanced” strategy targeted especially toward teens and young adults.
Canada Abandons Abstinence-Only Drug Education
Canada’s multi-pronged approach to educating the public about cannabis has taken to billboards, social media, television, and radio. All told, Canada is spending over $100 million over six years on education and awareness campaigns. A large portion of that pot, about $62.5 million, has been directed to on-the-ground community organizations and First Nations groups that want to take the helm of education efforts in their own communities.
Governments throwing money at drug awareness efforts is nothing new. Neither are their typically lackluster results. Usually, “just say