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Love the Drug, Hate the Driver: Canada’s Pro-Cannabis/Anti-DUI Ad Campaign 

November 28, 2017

As Canada barrels toward its July 1st deadline for legalizing adult-use recreational cannabis, one issue perennially in play is the threat of drugged driving. There’s even an official government website devoted to communicating a single message: “Don’t drive high.”

This week brought an interesting twist in the conversation, with the release of an ad campaign created by the agency BBDO Toronto for the road safety group R.I.D.E. Checks in conjunction with the medical cannabis producer Beleave.

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The aim of the ads, as BBDO creative chief Denise Rossetto told AdWeek, is to highlight the consequences of driving high.

“Unlike driving drunk, there isn’t yet a stigma around driving high,” says Rossetto. “So, we knew we had to do something to change public perception.”

Historically, “highlighting the dangers of DUI” has involved heavy drama and moralizing gore, but BBDO took a more subtle approach.

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“We wanted to be really careful that our message wasn’t anti-marijuana, but was very anti-driving-while-impaired,” Rossetto told AdWeek. “It was important we didn’t put down legalization, but for people to know there truly are consequences.”

The result is an ad campaign hyping a trio of cannabis strains designed to underscore the consequences of driving while high, from Kourtroom Kush to Slammer Time. Take a look:


Materials hyping the “Consequence Strains” will be on display at Canadian medical marijuana dispensaries (but not actually for sale).

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Dave Schmader

Dave Schmader is the author of the book "Weed: The User's Guide." Follow him on Twitter @davidschmader

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