Watch out, anti-marijuana advocates: the marijuana business is fighting back. Its ads are pushing back against the image of the irresponsible stoner, pushing for safe and moderate usage of pot. Organizations like the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), the U.S.'s largest pot advocacy group, are adding to the body of people pushing to legalize marijuana, to show a good example of pot being used safely.
Vigilant anti-marijuana groups like Citizens Against Legalizing Marijuana collect and post information showing that marijuana use is dangerous. The marijuana industry's is responding by showing people that pot use can be safe, moderate and legal.
MPP launched a site called consumeresponsibly.org which displays things like quizzes to help people determine if they are using pot responsibly. Some features of the site are not online yet, but it has some fairly comprehensive information about marijuana laws around the country.
One of MPP's features is a section called, "Know Your Responsibility," which it describes as "marijuana education that makes sense." The site has taken images of anti-marijuana ads and poked fun at them. According to the anti-pot ads, if you smoke marijuana, "you will go insane... you will fry your brain... you will hurt your children... your body will deflate." Some of the anti-marijuana ads they've collected seem ludicrous ("you will lose your girlfriend to an alien").
"So far, every campaign designed to educate the public about marijuana has relied on fear-mongering and insulting marijuana users," said Mason Tvert, a spokesperson for the MPP.
MPP states on the new site that, instead of making fun of people who use marijuana or trying to induce fear to make them avoid marijuana entirely, its goal is to focus on education and teaching people how to consume responsibly.
The MPP just put up a billboard warning tourists not to accidentally consume too much pot while visiting Colorado. The ad shows a sick woman and reads, "Don't let a candybar ruin your vacation."
The ad highlights what the MPP considers important in the battle for pot: instead of telling people not to partake, ads should be educating people about how much THC they can safely consume, and that there might be more than they expect in "edible" marijuana. Maureen Dowd, a columnist for the New York Times, consumed too much of a candybar while on vacation in Colorado (which the new billboard cheekily references), and fell sick. She described how she ate a small amount of the edible, didn't feel anything, and then kept eating more until it hit all at once. Things like this can be avoided, the MPP ads say, with more education.