Understanding Colorado’s “Good To Know” Campaign for Marijuana

January 12, 2015 Updated: April 23, 2016

Colorado’s marijuana laws have become an unusual source of fame for the state. While many other states won’t even allow people to use the drug for purely medicinal purpose, Colorado has opted to allow recreational use, as detailed in this guide. This has helped to solve a lot of problems, such as reducing the amount of money spent on prosecuting and jailing people for minor drug possession offenses. At the same time, it’s created some new issues. The state is now running a “Good to Know” campaign that’s designed to help ensure that citizens understand how to responsibly use marijuana.

The new initiative is being funded using tax money brought in by the marijuana industry. Part of the goal is to make sure that people understand that, while recreational marijuana use is okay for some people, there are still limits. For example, they make a special point of reminding the public that it’s still neither legal nor safe to give the drug to children or teenagers.

In an interesting contrast to the way drug use is discussed in other states, the focus is much more on practical concerns than moral ones. The advertising simply reminds people that a teenager’s brain is still growing and this makes it unsafe for them. That approach, along with the slightly silly rhyming message itself, seems to be designed to grab the attention of people who got used to tuning out the extreme and illogical messages often presented to the public when it comes to drugs.

Advertisements also seek to ensure that marijuana consumers understand how they can stay within the boundaries of current laws. They remind people that public use of pot is still not legal. They also remind both locals and tourists that it is not all right to cross state lines with the drug.

The advertisements being used were designed with input from both legalization skeptics and participants in the state’s new, and growing, legal marijuana industry. So far, Colorado’s experiment with legalization has gone fairly smoothly, without the kind of disasters that many of the people who opposed it predicted. These messages are an effort at maintaining that good record, and making sure that people don’t start to look at cannabis as something so harmless that they don’t have to think twice about how and where it’s used.