When legal cannabis sales commenced in the Centennial State in 2014, some opponents were concerned that negative public health effects would outweigh any positives derived from tax revenue; however, under the state’s helm, the Colorado cannabis industry continues to make the grade in public cannabis education.
On Jan. 18, 2018, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment released the results of its latest report, showing that public cannabis awareness and education campaigns have been successful in increasing the perception of risks associated with overconsumption, improper storage, driving while intoxicated, underage use and consuming while pregnant or breastfeeding.
“We’re encouraged by the early success of Colorado’s marijuana education efforts,” said Dr. Larry Wolk, executive director and chief medical officer of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, in a press release. “We will continue to work with other state agencies, local public health, the marijuana industry and community groups to ensure the safe, legal and responsible use of marijuana.”
According to the CDPHE’s report, those who saw the state’s Good to Know campaign were 2.5 times more likely to have key knowledge on the state’s cannabis laws, as well as having an increased understanding of the risks and health effects associated with cannabis use. The campaign also raised awareness about the dangers of driving high by 23% and daily use by 26%.
The CDPHE’s report also shows that nine out of 10 pregnant women agree that using cannabis during pregnancy does have some risks and that there has been a 12% increase in the number of parents willing to talk to their kids about the risks of underage cannabis use.
While these findings all demonstrate that the Colorado cannabis industry is educating the public, the report did note that nonusers are more likely to perceive the potential for addiction than users and that parents who consume cannabis are less likely to accept that there could be health risks associated with underage use.
Looking forward, the CDPHE plans to renew its efforts this spring, continuing prevention education for minors and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.