Canadian Province Launches Public Awareness Campaign

The province of Ontario in Canada is launching a youth-focused public awareness campaign as it finalizes its preparation for the launch of recreational cannabis across the country next week.

Regarding the Canadian legalization of cannabis, provinces have the power to create their own rules for cannabis sales and distribution. In Ontario, there will be public and privately owned options. They include an online retailer, Ontario Cannabis Store, with strict age verification measures, and privately licensed dispensaries that are licensed by the province’s Alcohol and Gaming Commission.

Licenses will not be capped, but will be limited on the amount of licenses per operator to, as she stated, “to ensure diversity in the market.” The mix of public and private market, Mulroney stated, was less vulnerable than a publicly owned and operated market that had been previously proposed.

The online market will be the only option at first but will allow brick-and-mortar stores by next April. Municipalities are permitted to opt out of physical stores and enact bylaws that restrict consumption in public places.

Along with options to legally purchase cannabis, the province is launching ads to educate the public about the safety measures the province is taking and awareness about the risks of cannabis consumption.

“It goes without saying that these ads do not promote cannabis use or the cannabis market—but will instead focus on social responsibility, including the health and addiction risks of short and long-term cannabis use,” said Attorney General Caroline Mulroney at a luncheon at Toronto’s Empire Club. The ads will be broadcast in ten languages.

The campaign includes ads that will be shown on television and social media channels as well as college campuses. They will focus on short and long-term health and addiction worries while reassuring residents that children, communities and roads will still be protected.

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