More than two years after Washington legalized marijuana, community groups in Seattle are launching a citywide effort aimed at preventing use of marijuana and other drugs by teens.
The campaign, with
support from the Seattle City Attorney's Office, aims to spread positive
messages that most kids don't use drugs or alcohol. The messages, which
also ask parents to talk to their kids about marijuana, are being
displayed on nine billboards around the city, some of them donated by
Clear Channel Outdoor.
After announcing the campaign at Aki
Kurose Middle School in south Seattle on Wednesday, City Attorney Pete
Holmes called the effort "an antidote to the fear-based messaging of the
war on drugs." He contrasted it with an anti-marijuana youth campaign
in Colorado, which told teens that if legal pot's an experiment, "Don't
be a lab rat." That effort featured oversized rat cages placed outside
parks, libraries and schools - a bit too reminiscent of jail cells for
In Seattle, organizers are asking students to take
part in their "Above the Influence" contest, including taking selfies
showing what inspires them not to use drugs or alcohol. Prizes include
Seattle Seahawks and Sounders tickets.
Last June and July, as the
state's first licensed pot shops were preparing to open, the Department
of Health scraped together $400,000 from other programs to run a
statewide radio and online campaign targeting parents. But this is the
first effort aimed at youth in Seattle since Initiative 502 passed.
a newly published University of Washington study suggests further
public messaging about the state's marijuana law might be warranted:
Just 57 percent of parents in a small, ongoing survey of 115 low-income
families in Tacoma knew that 21 is the legal age for recreational pot
use, and just 63 percent knew that growing marijuana at home isn't
The study found 71 percent of 10th graders knew the
legal age, but fewer than half knew the legal limit for marijuana
possession - up to an ounce of dried bud.
The legal-pot law
itself directs some tax revenues from legal marijuana sales to
prevention efforts, but Health Department spokesman Donn Moyer said the
state hasn't yet disbursed money to the agency for that purpose.
Graham-Squire, a manager at the social services organization
Neighborhood House, said the Seattle campaign has so far totaled
$60,000, including $15,000 from the city. They are looking for
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