ALBANY, N.Y. – New York is launching its first public health education campaign focused on cannabis.
As CBS2’s Kevin Rincon reports, New Yorkers voted to legalize adult use marijuana a year ago, and it’ll likely take yet another year from now before fully licensed dispensaries are up and running.
To try and make the rollout as smooth as possible, the state has now launched a three month ad campaign.
The commercial above will run on TV, radio and online, with a focus on educating the public.
“It’s really rooted in science, which is absolutely critical,” said Dr. Chinazo Cunningham, an addiction specialist who is working with the Office of Cannabis Management to figure out what works, and what doesn’t.
“We’ve seen candy, food infused with cannabis. We’ve seen marketing that targets young people, and we don’t know what the content of cannabis is right now, what the THS content is right now,” Cunnigham said.
Part of the effort is also aimed at getting rid of misconceptions.
“There’s an incredible amount of stigma around cannabis and cannabis use,” said Chris Alexander, director of the Office of Cannabis Management. “What we’re doing, and what we hope to come clear through the work we continue to do, is that there is significant medical benefits, but there’s also some risks. We want to make sure we have a state population that’s prepared to judge and learn more for itself.”
Alexander says there are genuine concerns.
“One of the key messages early on is safe storage. Making sure, if you’re going to use cannabis, that you put it away from your kids and your pets, because they can have an adverse reaction as well,” Alexander said.
In many ways, the state is planning to treat marijuana like tobacco. And in many ways, there are similarities.
“Just like tobacco, we don’t want your decision to smoke cannabis to be forced upon other by putting your secondhand smoke in their faces,” said Allan Clear of the New York state Health Department.
Fittingly, the ad campaign was rolled out on a college campus. It’s designed to remind young adults and their parents of the risks associated with marijuana. It’s also meant to arm them with knowledge of how to do things safely, should they decide to use.