The illicit marijuana market in California was getting on the nerves of both the licensed operators and the government and thus the latter has finally come up with an advertisement campaign that may help tackle the situation.
In a press release, the Chief of the Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC), Lori Ajax, said that the statewide “Get #weedwise’ program will encourage cannabis users to purchase products from only licensed businesses, while at the same time warning other non-licensed groups to mend their ways and submit for regulation.
Through this first-of-a-kind public education program, the BCC wants to remind consumers that the products available at licensed stores are lab-tested for safety, potency and purity and are therefore fit for consumption.
“What’s in your weed shouldn’t be a suspense. Shop licensed cannabis retailers only,” says one ad in the new program.
Reportedly, Get #weedwise will feature multilingual advertisements that will be distributed via a number of methods; those scheduled to run on the digital platform will warn users about foreign matter that can make their marijuana product unfit for consumption. Common contaminants often found in illicit cannabis include chemicals (pesticides/herbicides), fecal matter, molds, etc.
Only recently a group of researchers in Spain found E. Coli and Aspergillus in samples of illegal hash they acquired from the Madrid region. The former micro-organism, if ingested, can result in diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal cramping and even death.
Educating the consumers is perhaps the best way to curb the illicit market sales; furthermore, it ensures that users know what products have met the state’s safety standards and what items could be hazardous, said Ajax.
“Do you know what’s hiding in your counterfeit edibles?” another ad asks the customers. “Shop licensed marijuana retailers only.”
BCC spokesperson Alex Traverso told the local media that California will initially spend roughly $1.7 million on the campaign to “get it in front of as many eyeballs as possible.”