Marijuana Media Campaigns
Almost everything we once knew about marijuana from the 1960’s-1970’s has changed.
That includes laws legalizing medical and recreational use of cannabis, drug potency, products and methods of use, risk potential, negative safety and health effects, how to prevent and reduce harm, education strategies, research, and more.
Substance abuse, health, safety, and education professionals, parents, business owners, as well as regular citizens, need to be informed about how today’s marijuana can affect them, their loved ones, their employees, and their communities.
Unfortunately, there are few sources of evidence-informed information about marijuana.
However, there is a rapidly growing number of businesses marketing recreational and medical marijuana use, and unregulated content found online and in other traditional media channels promoting marijuana use by the cannabis industry.
Media campaigns are an important and efficient way to deliver substance abuse, prevention, and health and safety messages to youth, parents, employees, professionals and entire communities.
A marijuana media campaign can help correct myths, misconceptions and norms about marijuana use, increase awareness of marijuana harm, media influences and laws, improve knowledge of how to identify signs of use, provide positive youth and adult role models, enhance positive youth self-identity, increase youth self-regulation skills to set healthy behavior goals, and develop protective wellness lifestyles among youth and adults.
Discussed below are suggestions and examples of theme, content, materials, and strategies for developing and conducting a marijuana media campaign.
Media Campaign Theme
Care should be taken when choosing a marijuana media campaign theme and messages. Some previous anti-drug media campaigns that have emphasized fear messages or over exaggeration, negative physical effects and images, or portrayed marijuana use as the norm, have been unsuccessful and possibly even harmful.
Better themes and content address how marijuana is a barrier to achieving positive life goals, lifestyle and self-identity, and are aspirational and accurate.
One example of a positive media campaign theme is “Living an Active & Fit Lifestyle” which is used in the Marijuana Awareness Media Campaign by Prevention Plus Wellness.
This theme emphasizes a positive message of choosing and practicing healthy lifestyle habits while avoiding counter-productive and harmful marijuana use.
The Marijuana Awareness Media Campaign can serve as a model for creating your own media campaign.
However, campaign theme, content, materials and strategies should be tailored to fit your organization and population’s needs.
Media Campaign Content
Content for a marijuana awareness campaign should be wide ranging, but can also drill-down into selected content given the needs of an organization, workplace, school or community.
Sample topics selected from the Marijuana Awareness Media Campaign that could be addressed in your media campaign include:
- Cognitive and health effects of marijuana use
- How is marijuana used?
- Who uses marijuana?
- Serious risks for youth
- Why is marijuana addictive?
- Tips for reducing marijuana risks for adults and youth
- Myths about marijuana harm
- What is medical marijuana?
- Evidence of medical marijuana’s effectiveness
- Driving and marijuana use
- Medical and recreational marijuana laws
- Potency of today’s marijuana
- Marijuana effects on safety and work performance
- Federal regulations for workplaces
- Drug policy regulations
- Complying with federal and state laws
- What is synthetic marijuana?
- Signs of marijuana use
- Marijuana prevention tips for parents
- Marijuana advertising myths
- Marijuana terms and slang
- Evidence-informed marijuana resources
Media Campaign Materials
An effective multi-media campaign to increase awareness about marijuana and quickly changing information about marijuana research and laws should include a range of materials to reach targeted audience members with multiple, overlapping messages.
These materials would preferably be customizable and could include items such as those found in the Marijuana Awareness Media Campaign, including:
- Large marijuana awareness banner
- Marijuana awareness posters
- Marijuana awareness media campaign press release(s)
- Marijuana awareness quizzes with scoring answers and guides
- Marijuana awareness PowerPoint slides
- Marijuana risks brochures
- Myths about marijuana use harm flyers
- Marijuana and alcohol harm reduction tips for parents
- Marijuana awareness online resources
- Youth health behavior surveys
- Youth multiple health behavior goal plans
- Marijuana media literacy PowerPoint slides
- Marijuana awareness workplace training
- New blog posts discussing breaking news, laws and research as it becomes available
A sample of the materials found in the Marijuana Awareness Media Campaign can be seen here: http://preventionpluswellness.com/ppw-resources/ppw-program-samples/
Media Campaign Strategies
Strategies for disseminating a marijuana media campaign, like campaign content and materials, should also be varied. For example, the campaign banner, posters and press release(s) can be used to announce and promote a campaign.
The remaining campaign materials could be distributed throughout the organization, business, school or region to youth and adults, or used to host organizational or community events.
Examples of strategies selected from the Marijuana Awareness Media Campaign include:
- Assess student and community groups’ level of marijuana knowledge using the Marijuana Awareness Training Quiz and present the PowerPoint program slides,
- Assess students’ marijuana knowledge using the Marijuana Awareness Training: Youth Cannabis Use & Risks Quiz and present the PowerPoint program slides,
- Assess students’ knowledge using the Marijuana Media Literacy Quiz and present the PowerPoint Program slides,
- Present critical marijuana terminology with the Essential Marijuana Terms document,
- Discuss with local parent groups the Marijuana and Alcohol Harm Reduction Tips for Parents,
- Help youth assess their current health habits and set healthy goals using the Youth Behavior Survey and Youth Multiple Health Behavior Goal Plan,
- Present marijuana myths and risks using the Myths About Marijuana Use Harm Flyer and the Marijuana Risks Brochure,
- Present the Complete Marijuana Training Parts I & II using the PowerPoint slides, and
- Discuss Marijuana Awareness Workplace training, policies, and drug-testing issues for local businesses.
Almost everything we once knew about marijuana has changed. Unfortunately, there are very few reliable sources of evidence-informed information about cannabis, including quickly changing laws, use and norms, to help combat the one-sided messages provided by the marijuana industry.
Media campaigns are an important tool to cost-effectively deliver substance abuse, prevention, and safety and health messages to entire organizations and communities.
This paper provided suggestions and examples of theme, content, materials and strategies for developing and conducting a marijuana media campaign.
One key advantage of the Marijuana Awareness Media Campaign is that is a fully-loaded, ready-to-use campaign can save you and your organization a tremendous amount of time and effort, versus starting from scratch to create your own campaign.
Yet at the same time, organizations have the flexibility to customize the Marijuana Awareness Media Campaign theme, content, images, materials and strategies to match the specific needs and interests of the target population, setting and organization.
Learn more about the Marijuana Awareness Media Campaign: http://preventionpluswellness.com/marijuana-awareness-media-campaign/
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