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Colorado’s “Good to Know” PSA Aims to Educate, Not Alienate

Colorado is spending millions of dollars of the state’s marijuana tax revenue to educate its resident reefer enthusiasts and toker tourists on some important details surrounding its one-year-old recreational marijuana market.

Earlier this week, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment announced the $5.7 million “Good to Know” campaign, which appears to be more of a light-hearted approach to driving home the common sense element surrounding Colorado’s cannabis commerce, rather than the typical “this is your brain on drugs” type of propaganda that weed has been associated with for decades.

Unlike previous campaigns, like the infamous “Don’t Be a Lab Rat” movement, which attempted to caution children on the perils of marijuana by using large cages full of frightening literature, printed with images of mutant burnouts and stoner retardation, Colorado officials say their latest public service announcement aims to educate, not alienate.

Instead of using beds of horrifying soundscapes placed over a dark, dramatic voice claiming that pot will lead to a life of destitution and compromised values, the “Good to Know” campaign uses the old folksy sounds of a banjo underneath the voice of a rhyming cowboy.

Although some may view the ads as cheesy, the goal of the campaign is to not only provide the pot smoking populace with crucial information about Colorado’s retail reefer market, but to also change the way marijuana is discussed. The campaign could become an important blueprint in the coming years for other states that feel compelled to spend a designated portion of the tax revenue obtained through legal pot sales on prevention.

While these advertisements may seem like a waste of money that could be spent on a myriad of other options, such as schools and roads, recent data indicates that not everyone is privy to the ins and outs of the state’s new pot laws—making it the state’s responsibility to educate the masses. In fact, nearly 30 percent of Colorado residents polled in a new survey said they did not know smoking pot in public was against the law, while only around 23 percent understood that marijuana could only be sold to adults 21 and over.

It is for this reason the state ordered the campaign; Colorado plans to maintain records in regards to cannabis use and perception in order to determine which demographics to target in future efforts.

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