You are here
Home > News > New York Launches Cannabis Public Education Campaign

New York Launches Cannabis Public Education Campaign

New Yorkers will see marijuana-themed TV commercials, subway ads and billboards as a result of the public education campaign that Governor Kathy Hochul announced on Monday. This three-month campaign called Cannabis Conversations is meant to remind New Yorkers and provide tools for parents to safeguard young people.

The governor’s office noted that last year’s Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) that legalized cannabis in New York is focused on public health and was developed to support the principles of safety, social justice, and economic development. In order to help New Yorkers understand the law’s impact on their health and safety, the MRTA contains provisions that mandate public education campaigns.

“With the ‘Cannabis Conversations’ campaign, we’re following through on our commitment to provide New Yorkers with the information they need to safely navigate the new Cannabis Law,” Hochul said in a statement. “Education is the best tool to keep New Yorkers healthy as we continue to ramp up this safe, inclusive, and equitable industry.”

The education campaign from New York’s Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) will consist of messages in English and Spanish distributed through television commercials, radio spots, transit ads, social media posts and billboards. Monday’s launch includes the release of a 30-second spot highlighting New York’s legalization of cannabis for adults 21 and older, the importance of not driving under the influence, and the need to securely store cannabis away from children and pets.

“‘Cannabis Conversations’ is our first public health campaign as we make sure New Yorkers have the initial information they need to stay safe and healthy. We have learned from other states and are excited to amplify these important messages across the State,” said Cannabis Control Board chair Tremaine Wright. “Meanwhile, we’re hard at work building this new industry, and as it continues to evolve, so, too, will our public education efforts with future campaigns tackling a growing range of health and safety messaging.”

Start of Community Outreach Program

This program continues the Cannabis Conversations campaign, which featured a series virtual community outreach events that Wright hosted in January and February. There were 10 events that focused on specific regions in the state, and one event in Spanish.

Kassandra Frederique, executive director of the cannabis reform advocacy group the Drug Policy Alliance, said that it “is essential for New York’s Cannabis Conversation campaign to establish statewide literacy of our new cannabis policy.”

“New Yorkers have experienced decades of prohibition, disparate enforcement, and with increasing intensity misinformation. The Office of Cannabis Management was created to serve as a central hub for cannabis policy and information,” added Frederique. “It is our hope that this is only the beginning of the state’s robust public education that not only teaches people what the law is, but includes considerations around consumption, how to become an entrepreneur, and where to get help if you need it.”

Over the coming three months, additional messages from the Cannabis Conversations campaign are planned. Sarah Ravenhall is the executive director of New York State Association of County Health Officials. She said she was encouraged by the fact that both the governor of New York and OCM take public health and equity very seriously, as they prepare for legalization.

“There are health risks associated with cannabis use that require sound policy to mitigate, and the governor’s ‘Cannabis Conversations’ Campaign is a clear indication that this administration supports a thoughtful and careful approach to cannabis policy,” said Ravenhall. “We look forward to working with the state to monitor the program’s public health impact and to continue to find new ways to ensure New York has the safest program possible.”