It would be quite the understatement to say that 2018 has been important for cannabis in Canada. This year, nonmedical cannabis legalization was the object of conferences, meetings, consultations, and presentations, through which a common thread stood out: Legalization will not work without proper education. So, looking back at these past 12 months, what were the biggest successes in the colossal task of educating a nation on a plant still so overwhelmingly misunderstood?
#5 – CBC’s “This is your brain on pot”
Although sometimes criticized for its exaggerated or misleading headlines, CBC really hit the nail on the head with this piece, which is an interactive compilation of fun infographics explaining to readers how cannabis acts on the brain. It’s been touted by organizations such as Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy as an excellent resource that strikes a balance between making information easily digestible without overreaching in an attempt to be cool enough to woo younger readers.
#4 – The British Columbia Automobile Association’s (BCAA) Impaired Driving PSA
This short clip completely flipped the usual narrative seen in videos against driving high by praising young people for their frequent use of designated drivers, and asking older folks to follow their lead. In one sweeping motion, the video empowers youth to feel pride in their positive choices and offers practical solutions to avoid impaired driving.
#3 – Cannabis Amnesty’s “Cannabis Amnesty Key Facts” Sheet
Considering that prohibition of nonmedical cannabis in Canada was an almost century-long affair, it is unsurprising that vast amounts of data exist on the criminalization of cannabis in this country. This resource does an incredible job of amalgamating these data into a list of precise and tangible facts that explain the effects of prohibition, and why amnesty is important for those it criminalized.
#2 – The University of Calgary’s “Cannabis Legalization and Youth” webinar
This lengthier recorded webinar showcases two prominent academics in the cannabis space, Dr. Rebecca Haines-Saah and Dr. Matthew Hill, who skillfully present the current state of the research of the effects of cannabis on the brain, as well as what a public health approach means for cannabis policy. The webinar offers a refreshingly nuanced outlook on what we do and do not yet know about these topics.
#1 – Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy’s “Cannabis Education Toolkit”
Written as a tool to help parents and professionals who engage with youth have meaningful discussions on cannabis with young people, this 96-page resource has made quite the waves this year, even making it to the Senate during the discussions around legalization. Containing both a section on successful approaches to cannabis education as well as a cannabis 101, the Toolkit has been a leading resource for really anyone looking to learn more about cannabis.
These resources highlight the daunting depth and breadth of areas to which cannabis education applies, and the immensity of the task ahead. However, for now, we can proudly say that we’re off to a pretty good start.