The ad aimed at dissuading teenagers from using cannabis shows what a teen would supposedly resemble after a decade of consumption.
Michigan may have done away with adult-use pot prohibition, but a new campaign in the Great Lakes State is breathing new life into the stigma surrounding use of the drug.
Backed by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the new anti-weed ad campaign has appeared on televisions all over the state and pro-cannabis advocates have taken notice.
The ad, which is aimed at dissuading teenagers from using cannabis, depicts what a teen would supposedly look like 10 years in the future following a decade of consumption.
In the clip, the teenager plays video games on the couch with a pizza when his future self, who is overweight and still wearing the same outfit, appears next to him in a cloud of smoke.
“High again?” the apparition asks disapprovingly. “I’m you in 10 years.”
The future self continues to berate the teen. “Even if we could see this is a problem, we wouldn’t be able to focus long enough to get out of the problem,” noted the apparition.
The ad concludes with the words, “Don’t let a high hold you back,” appearing at the bottom of the screen.
Cannabis and body-image advocates alike are decrying the ad and want it removed from the airwaves, accusing it of using fat-shaming and scare tactics in an effort to dissuade youth from using the drug.
“I really think we need to be careful when using examples that we don’t make kids feel bad for being overweight,” Robin Schneider, executive director of Michigan Cannabis Industry Association, told Click on Detroit. “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,” Schneider said.
The Michigan Department of Health stands by the ad, citing an American Medical Association article that states teens who are chronic, heavy consumers of cannabis show a drop in IQ between the ages of 13 and 38.
“The campaign, Future Self, paints the picture of a youth’s possible life when they become adults if they are using marijuana during their formative years,” the department noted in a statement.
“This age group was identified as being vulnerable to health risks associated with marijuana use. The recent legalization of adult use marijuana can create the perception for adolescents that it doesn’t pose risks. However, the risks of marijuana use are much higher for youth than adults as their brains are still developing.”
Written by Emma Spears