Let’s face it: with the Canadian government becoming the nation’s weed dealer, weed is no longer going to be cool. We live in a cautious and boring country, and our approach to legalizing weed will reflect those values.
Case in point, the Manitoba government just released a couple of public service announcements warning people about the dangers of black market weed, and they are factually dubious in addition to just being corny.
The first one starts out with extremely aggressive music, akin to a keyboard preset called “alien party montage.”
Text saying “Street cannabis isn’t worth the risk” appears on screen, along with two joints, which niftily form an “X” before—gasp—a skull floats overtop them.
“No quality control” the ad continues, as the two joints become one joint with a bomb wick at the end. The joint kind of explodes, which is something that literally never happens, regardless of the quality of weed.
Next the warning “Could put your life at risk” appears along with three Xs made up of joints.
The ad doesn’t explain how consuming “street cannabis” would put your life at risk and I am having trouble thinking of how this would be the case, considering no one has ever died from using weed.
Then we’re back to the skull, this time wearing a red bandana, alongside the message “supports crime.” I’m going to assume this is a reference to organized crime. Technically speaking though, if you buy weed from any dispensary you’re supporting crime because weed is illegal, but that’s a stupid law, which is why we’re changing it.
Finally we’re told street weed “could get you arrested” which is true, but I’ll refer back to my earlier point about prohibition being stupid and pointless.
The second ad is a series of warnings about how weed affects the brain.
It’s set to the same annoying music, and says:
“Cannabis will affect brain development. Lower I.Q. Impair Critical Thinking. Affect Learning Ability. Impair Judgement.” It even uses a graphic showing “3 + 3 = 7” to illustrate the point.
All of this is presented as fact, without any nuance, when the truth is a lot more complicated.
Public health researcher Rebecca Haines-Saah told VICE those outcomes are not guaranteed across the board and depend “a lot on frequency of use, intensity (THC) and age of onset” as well as other factors like poverty, genetics and polysubstance abuse.
This isn't the first time a government source has released somewhat misleading claims about weed. Earlier in the year, we fact checked a bunch of warnings issued by Health Canada and found that many lacked qualifiers or couldn't be proven definitively due to a lack of research.
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