Ontario government launching marijuana public education campaign day before legalization


TORONTO – An Ontario government public awareness campaign highlighting rules around cannabis use and the dangers associated with the drug is set to kick off on Tuesday, a day before recreational pot is legalized across the country.

Attorney General Caroline Mulroney says that the ad campaign will focus on social responsibility and will not promote cannabis use.

The first phase of the campaign will run until the end of the year.

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Mulroney says it will focus on answering questions the government heard most often during its consultations on its marijuana legislation.

The advertisements will run in traditional media as well as on digital and social channels to reach a younger audience.

When marijuana is legalized on Wednesday it will initially only be available in Ontario through government-run online sales.

READ MORE: Toronto incumbent mayor John Tory says city preparing for cannabis legalization

Cannabis is expected to be available in private retail stores next April.

The Progressive Conservative government estimates the province will see between 500 to 1,000 private pot shops licensed a short time after legalization, and has said there will be no cap placed on the number of licenses awarded.

Mulroney says the government’s public awareness campaign on pot will stress the importance of public safety and the potential health consequences of drug use.

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“Just because the federal government has decided to legalize cannabis doesn’t mean that it’s safe,” she said. “We want to be able to educate and keep Ontarians informed about the serious health and addictions risks that come with both short and long-term use of cannabis.”

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