The Gallant government has launched a public awareness and education campaign just months before the expected legalization of recreational marijuana in Canada.
It includes a website and focuses on what are called vulnerable groups when it comes to cannabis use. That includes pregnant or breastfeeding women, people with mental health issues and especially youth.
The New Brunswick Medical Society supports the campaign but not the decision to set the legal age of cannabis consumption at 19.
It says it poses a potential risk to brain development.
“We know that the brain is developing in the youth population until 25 but it is difficult to implement 25 so we said 21 should be the minimum age for cannabis consumption in this province,” said the society’s president, Dr. Dharm Singh.
WATCH: Survey says majority of New Brunswickers won’t purchase marijuana once legal
New Brunswick’s Chief Medical Officer of Health is emphasizing dialogue. She says it’s not just about talking to young people but how to talk to them.
“The kind of messaging that works best with teens is not one of fear,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell. “You can’t invoke fear, you cant tell teens what to do so you really have to have an open dialogue”.
There is no current plan to introduce the campaign into the school system but it’s something the province says it is watching closely.
“We will sort of see how the message penetrates this summer and depending on how that goes, we will certainly be in a position to make that decision,” explained Health Minister Benoit Bourque.
The campaign will add more information in the coming weeks and months. The government is planning a widespread advertising campaign in relation to this initiative.
Ads will begin Tuesday and over the next few months, they will expand over a variety of platforms from social media to buses.
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