Health Canada to launch new campaign warning youth about risks of cannabis use – Saskatchewan

Health Canada is planning to launch a new awareness campaign aimed at warning minors and young adults about the risks of using cannabis in the lead up to the drug becoming legal.

A public tender indicates Ottawa is looking for a contractor with creative talent to host a series of events across the country to bring in young people to talk about the risks of smoking marijuana.

Under the proposed Cannabis Act or B-C45, possession and consumption of recreational pot will become legal in Canada on July 1, 2018. The federal government has set the minimum legal age at 18, but provinces can decide to increase the age restriction as some health officials recommend. 

Along with its plan to legalize pot, the federal government has committed to introducing new measures to keep cannabis out of the hands of minors and set aside $9.6 million in this year’s budget for public education about the risks of cannabis use with a focus on young people.

“Canadians need to be educated about the use of cannabis in order to mitigate its potential risks and harms. They generally view cannabis use as socially acceptable, but are ill-informed about the health and safety risks; this is especially true for youth,” the tender reads.

“To get ready for and to support the new system, public awareness and education are critical to ensuring that Canadians, especially youth, are well-informed about the health and safety risks of cannabis use and about current laws.”

A spokesperson from Health Canada declined to comment, citing the public tender has not yet closed.

A number of organizations have lobbied the federal government to protect teens from accessing recreational pot once it becomes legal next July. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

Target audiences 13-17, 18-24

The campaign’s messaging will target teens aged 13-17 and adults 18-24, as well as their parents and teachers.

It will focus on driving home messages such as, “like alcohol, cannabis is not without risks,” and “the younger cannabis use starts and the more it is used, the higher the health risks”

Meanwhile, parents and older adults will be encouraged to talk to teens about cannabis use.

Concerts could be venues to talk about pot

The document outlines how Health Canada is asking for two marketing campaigns — one aimed at minors, the other young adults.

The marketing will be done through a series of events, like concerts, to be hosted across the country where information about the health and safety risks…

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