A new anti-cannabis ad approved by the state of Michigan supposedly shows the effects of adolescent marijuana use by showing a teenager talking to his “ten years in the future” self. The ad is drawing criticism for not only using scare-tactics to mislead people about the effects of marijuana, it specifically implies that marijuana use will lead to massive weight gain.
“The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services launched a campaign about the well-documented harmful effects of youth use of marijuana in December 2019. It is directed at ages 14-21 and is slated to run on social media, popular online video and audio channels and video streaming services,” the state said in response to the backlash.
“An article in the American Medical Association states that those who used cannabis heavily in their teens and continued through adulthood showed a significant drop in IQ between the ages of 13 and 38; an average of eight points for those who met criteria for cannabis dependence.”
Single, cherry-picked study that has been rebutted by others aside, that still doesn’t explain why the person ten years into the future in the ad has gained more than 150 pounds. If I had to guess, I would assume this is an implied reference to marijuana supposedly making someone sit on the couch and eat all day. This is despite the fact that some studies have even shown that cannabis use can aid in weight loss.
In other words, the ad is a collection of dumb, debunked stereotypes, designed to scare teenagers away from marijuana use.
And as Robin Schneider, the Executive Director of the Michigan Cannabis Industry Association, pointed out, the obese guy being the negative “after” portion of the ad is not something that will be helpful to teens suffering from body issues.
“I really think we need to be careful when using examples that we don’t make kids feel bad for being overweight,” she said. “This is serious and we need to work together to protect our youth, but this is just not the way to go about doing it and it was done in very poor taste.”
There are so many things that teens can do that are more dangerous than using marijuana, it almost seems bizarre that this is what many are still focusing on when it comes to protecting kids. Be honest with your kids and be as knowledgeable as possible about marijuana for when it comes up, but wasting time scaring teens about cannabis could very well drive them to something far worse.