Quebec's Bizarre New Cannabis Ads Are 'Reefer Madness' for the Photoshop Era

Québec seems to be on a mission to brand itself as the most anti-marijuana province in Canada, which legalized recreational consumption last fall. Since then, Québec's anti-cannabis agenda has included a plan to push the legal age of consumption up from 18 to 21, introducing a specialized police force to enforce cannabis laws and banning all products that depict a marijuana leaf.

Now in the province's latest effort to broadcast its disdain for cannabis, Québec has released a new and very weird "educational" ad campaign. 

As you can see from the images below, the ads feature bizarrely photoshopped images of young people with things like insanely long eyelashes and ears growing out of the tops of their heads. But perhaps the strangest thing is that they're not saying this is what happens when you smoke cannabis. The ads state, "There's no way cannabis can do this. But the risks are real."

Then they add, "It's not worth the risk," but at no point do the ads clarify what those risks are. So many young Québeckers are likely to dismiss the ads as either a flagrant attempt to stoke fear toward marijuana, or a bizarre admission that Québec officials have no idea what they're talking about.

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That said, the province did launch an accompanying website with the ads that does provide at least some information about cannabis consumption. The website warns people that cannabis can have negative impacts on things like memory functioning and your ability to drive, increase your heart rate and cause anxiety. These are real symptoms that some people may experience while consuming cannabis, so it's valid to include them in the campaign. But at the same time, it's strange that there's no link to that website in the ads. That means the information that's actually useful to young Canadians is left off the centrepieces of the campaign for some reason.

So while the grotesque ads succeed in catching the eyes of passersby, they don't do enough to grab the hearts and minds of their target audience.

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Québec isn't the first Canadian jurisdiction to launch strange cannabis education campaigns. The Northwest Territories recently unveiled their own slightly creepy comic book inspired campaign. But at least in the case of the Northwest Territories their posters contained some real information to go along with the eye-catching visuals. Regulators in La Belle Province could definitely learn something from studying that approach.

h/t The GrowthOp

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