Controversy recently broke out after California’s Office of Traffic Safety released a marijuana PSA and critics pounced, claiming that the 30-second spot promoted drug use.
The state quickly moved on Friday to pull the ad, which was intended to discourage DUIs. The central message at the end of the video proclaimed, “DUI: It doesn’t just mean booze.”
But in making its point about the dangers of driving under the influence, the ad also carried with it a slew of comments from weed users that appeared to endorse the drug — and critics were less than ecstatic about it.
The clip begins with people heralding the purported benefits of marijuana. “It helps my anxiety,” one man proclaimed. A woman added that it helps her appetite, while others said that it helps slow their thought process and keep them balanced.
From there, though, the ad took a bit of a turn, with users praising the drug with comments like “I just like it,” “It’s fun” and “I love it.” Despite their penchant for weed, the people featured in the ad affirmed that they don’t drive when they use it, as it’s illegal.
Controversy followed the video’s airing and the Office of Traffic Safety decided to kill the spot, with Rhonda Craft, director of that office, releasing a statement saying that the agency shares the “concerns expressed over certain elements” and will replace the ad with a more benign video that aired last year.
“The intent, however, was to address as many of the reasons people choose to consume cannabis in a way that resonates with this demographic in hopes that they listen,” Craft said, according to the AP.
She added that the office is working to “refine and improve messaging as we move forward.”
This CA taxpayer funded PSA spends most air time normalizing/promoting pot use before saying don’t drive stoned. Imagine same extolling virtues of alcohol? This is is absurd, @JerryBrownGov should nix this. https://t.co/ABfLK6j0ZE
— Rob Stutzman (@RobStutzman) January 1, 2018
California legalized recreational marijuana effective Jan. 1, 2018, via Proposition 64. Pot will be for sale between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. for adults aged 21 and older.
People can purchase up to 8 grams of cannabis concentrates in candies, marijuana, brownies and other elements from a state-registered dispensary, as PolitiFact noted.