Today at noon in Denver, the unveiling of a billboard inspired by New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd's unhappy experience with pot edibles will serve as the official launch of Consume Responsibly, a new campaign intended to counter decades worth of pot misinformation with practical facts about cannabis use. Included in the campaign materials are satirical images about what has up until now qualified as "marijuana education." Count down the eight graphics below, followed by more information about today's event.
Here's the countdown:
Continue for more ways marijuana will supposedly destroy your life, followed by additional info about the unveiling of the Maureen Dowd-inspired billboard and the Consume Responsibly campaign. Four more things that will supposedly happen if you use marijuana:
The images above, as well as the Consume Responsibly campaign as a whole, was inspired in part by the response to columnist Dowd's early June offering headlined "Don't Harsh Our Mellow, Dude." As we noted in our original coverage, Dowd "nibbled the end" of an infused candy bar while in Denver to cover the launch of recreational pot sales in January -- and when nothing happened, she "nibbled some more." For an hour, she felt nothing. But then, something happened. She describes it like so:
I felt a scary shudder go through my body and brain. I barely made it from the desk to the bed, where I lay curled up in a hallucinatory state for the next eight hours. I was thirsty but couldn't move to get water. Or even turn off the lights. I was panting and paranoid, sure that when the room-service waiter knocked and I didn't answer, he'd call the police and have me arrested for being unable to handle my candy.
I strained to remember where I was or even what I was wearing, touching my green corduroy jeans and staring at the exposed-brick wall. As my paranoia deepened, I became convinced that I had died and no one was telling me.
This experience didn't exactly turn her into a marijuana edibles fan. Indeed, she suggested in the piece (maybe jokingly, maybe not) that THC-infused goodies be stamped with a "stoned skull and bones."
As numerous commenters have pointed out since then, Dowd didn't follow recommendations about how much of a marijuana edible to consume, particularly for a person, like her, who'd never previously tried such a product. Yet anti-pot crusaders seized on her column to argue that edibles -- and, by association, all items related to marijuana -- were more dangerous than previously advertised.
Marijuana Policy Project communications director Mason Tvert, the person heading up the Consume Responsibly campaign, feels that some of Dowd's comments in the column "were off-base." But in his view, "the overall message of her piece was important. We need to ensure that adults know what they're doing when they're consuming marijuana edibles. A lot of people who are inexperienced marijuana consumers are not aware of the strength of edibles compared to standard marijuana that might be smoked or vaporized, and this made a lot of people think about it."
He hopes the new billboard, going up at 816 Federal Boulevard, will do the same. Here's a look at it:
In Tvert's view, the billboard, and the campaign as a whole, "reflects the reality of marijuana laws in Colorado and Washington, and also the reality of marijuana use nationwide. This is a substance that millions of adults consume and it's less harmful than alcohol -- but there are things people should know before consuming it.
"Up until now, marijuana education in this country has utterly failed to inform people about the actual effects of marijuana," he continues. "And marijuana ad campaigns have been characterized by derision toward marijuana consumers and scare tactics instead of honest information and acknowledgment that marijuana is another legal substance in Colorado that adults can use."
As Tvert points out, "millions of adults consume alcohol in this country, and most of them do it responsibly -- but there's still a need to encourage responsibility among alcohol consumers. The same should be the case with marijuana. Marijuana has played a significant role in American culture, but it's still something that a lot of people don't have experience with. That can be easy for seasoned marijuana users to forget."
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Tvert will appear at the aforementioned noon unveiling of the billboard at 816 Federal, on the northwest corner of Federal and West 8th Avenue. For more information about the Consume Responsibly campaign, click here.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.