New York wants to educate its citizens about cannabis laws including who can consume it, where to consume it and how to consume it safely.
On Monday, New York State Governor Kathy Hochul announced the first “Cannabis Conversations” public education campaign which includes public service advertisements in English and Spanish broadcasted on television, radio, transit, billboards and social media.
Public service advertisements started on Monday and will run for approximately three months.
The first message is centred on a 30-second message highlighting the state’s cannabis legalization for adults over 21, encouraging drivers not to drive high, keeping second-hand smoke away from people and storing cannabis safely.
The campaign builds on the first public outreach effort earlier this year through the virtual “Cannabis Conversations” where the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) held virtual outreach sessions in 10 regions across New York.
It was developed by the OCM following a review of education campaigns operated by other states that legalized adult-use cannabis before New York state. It was designed in partnership with the Office of Addiction Services and Supports, the Department of Health, and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee.
“With the ‘Cannabis Conversations’ campaign, we’re following through on our commitment to provide New Yorkers with the information they need to safely navigate the new Cannabis Law,” Governor Hochul said in a statement.
“Education is the best tool to keep New Yorkers healthy as we continue to ramp up this safe, inclusive, and equitable industry.”
Cannabis Control Board Chair Tremaine Wright said the campaigns aim to provide New Yorkers with the initial information they need to stay safe and healthy while the new industry continues to develop.
“Meanwhile, we’re hard at work building this new industry, and as it continues to evolve, so, too, will our public education efforts with future campaigns tackling a growing range of health and safety messaging,” Wright said.
Advocacy group Drug Policy Alliance executive director Kassandra Frederique said the campaign is essential to establish statewide literacy of the new cannabis policy.
“New Yorkers have experienced decades of prohibition, disparate enforcement, and with increasing intensity misinformation,” Frederique said.
” It is our hope that this is only the beginning of the state’s robust public education that not only teaches people what the law is, but includes considerations around consumption, how to become an entrepreneur, and where to get help if you need it.”
Last month, the OCM released proposed regulations for the retail market reserving licences for people who’ve been convicted of cannabis crimes in the state of New York before March 31, 2021, when New York’s adult-use laws took effect.
In January, Governor Hochul presented on her State of the State document a US$200 million fund to support marginalized applicants in building cannabis businesses.