The Alberta government has rolled out a $167,000 online ad campaign warning drivers that getting behind the wheel high on marijuana “face the same consequences” as drunk drivers.
The series of ads, which began popping up on websites and social media Nov. 29, are aimed at younger, less experienced drivers who, may engage in riskier behaviour and believe marijuana doesn’t impair their abilities, said Wendy Doyle, Alberta Transportation’s executive director for the office of traffic safety.
“A lot of people believe that A) it’s safer, B) that they can’t get caught, or C) that the consequences are different or not as severe as driving if you’re drunk,” she said.
One of the illustrated two-panel ads depicts four women in a convertible with the driver passing a bottle of beer to a passenger. The second panel shows a nearly identical image but has the driver passing a joint.
The ad warns, “Spot the Difference” and “Behind the Wheel, There Isn’t One.”
“When we look at the Criminal Code and when we look at impairment — substances that impair your cognitive abilities to safely drive a vehicle — cannabis most definitely is that,” said Doyle.
Doyle said officials from Colorado and Washington, states that legalized recreational marijuana use in recent years, urged Alberta to launch education campaigns and collect baseline data before Ottawa introduces and passes legalization legislation.