Maine Voices: Pot ads on buses are sending the wrong, and incorrect, message

October 7th, 2013 by admin Leave a reply »

Updated: 8:46 AM

Maine Voices: Pot ads on buses are sending the wrong, and incorrect, message

The question of its being a ‘safer’ drug is irrelevant. It must be judged on its own merits.

By Scott M. Gagnon

LEWISTON — As has been covered by the Portland Press Herald in the past few days, the Marijuana Policy Project has launched a new ad campaign with the Portland Metro bus system touting marijuana as a “safer choice.”


Scott M. Gagnon is a substance abuse prevention manager for Healthy Androscoggin, the drug-free communities coalition serving Androscoggin County. He is a member of the Maine Substance Abuse Services Commission and chairperson of the Maine Alliance to Prevent Substance Abuse Steering Committee.

It is an ad campaign that has been said to be targeting adults as part of a discussion on marijuana policy in Portland. However, the large ads on buses and bus shelters are in full view of the many young people who use the bus system or walk by bus shelters.

The messages proclaiming marijuana as a “safer choice” are disturbing because of the mixed messages they send to our youth. We know in prevention science that when youth perceive a substance as being “safer,” they will be more likely to use it.

Adults can and will have different opinions on whether or not marijuana should become a legal substance. However, the facts around marijuana, especially the documented impacts on public health and the health of the young, cannot be denied. The

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