California lawmakers launch cannabis ad campaign to hinder black market activity

“Get #weedwise” encourages California’s cannabis consumers to visit licensed and regulated stores that only stock lab-tested bud and plant-based extracts

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

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California’s illicitly-operating cannabis market is not losing momentum, despite the fact that the plant has been legalized for recreational purposes statewide since January 1, 2018. In an attempt to tackle the ongoing problem, an advertising campaign was recently released by the Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) prompting consumers to steer clear of unlicensed shops.

Get #weedwise” encourages California’s cannabis consumers to visit licensed and regulated stores that only stock lab-tested bud and plant-based extracts. The increased black market activity presents stiff competition for licensed dispensary owners operating in California’s cannabis market. Many are struggling to turn over a healthy profit as they contend with illegally-operating drug dealers. As much as 80 percent of the state’s cannabis sales are falling under the radar.

“We are going to start having a more aggressive enforcement stance to come after the illegal market,” said California’s top cannabis regulator Lori Ajax.

In addition to alerting the general public about the fact that black market weed is unregulated and untracked in the governmental system, the BCC’s cannabis ad campaign also hones in on the health risks of consuming street weed.

#weedwise cannabis ad campaign teaches consumers that street weed may be unsafe for consumption

https://www.google.co.uk/search?safe=strict&biw=1366&bih=619&tbm=isch&sa=1&ei=UAgqXZDiLY26abbrs8AL&q=weedwise+bcc&oq=weedwise+bcc&gs_l=img.3...3624.8724..8849...3.0..0.171.1750.21j3......0....1..gws-wiz-img.......35i39j0i10i24j0j0i24j0i10.GUTOQqS0HFA#imgrc=UmKE-Ge8WXfpUM:It’s not just the economic implications that California’s lawmakers are concerned about but also, the fact that cannabis being grown and sold on the black market can pose serious health and hygiene risks for the consumer.

This is a focal point of the #weedwise campaign, which utilizes various advertising methods, such as digital advertising.

“[It] will directly impact consumer safety by clarifying that only cannabis purchased from licensed retailers has met the state’s safety standards,” explained Ajax.

Studies have shown that street weed sold on the black market is widely untested and may even contain traces of bacteria and feces.

“What’s in your weed shouldn’t be a mystery. Shop licensed cannabis retailers only,” reads one of the BCC’S cannabis campaign ads, which is pictured to the left.

The campaign will also urge unlicensed businesses to conduct operations legally

https://www.google.co.uk/search?safe=strict&biw=1366&bih=619&tbm=isch&sa=1&ei=UAgqXZDiLY26abbrs8AL&q=weedwise+bcc&oq=weedwise+bcc&gs_l=img.3...3624.8724..8849...3.0..0.171.1750.21j3......0....1..gws-wiz-img.......35i39j0i10i24j0j0i24j0i10.GUTOQqS0HFA#imgrc=P3aFsUw7ql5doM:Aside from teaching consumers about the health risks of black market weed and the damage that the unregulated market is doing to California’s economy, the #weedwise cannabis ad campaign will target unlicensed business owners.

The BCC is optimistic that their multilingual cannabis campaign will open the eyes of illegally-operating cultivators and unlicensed shop owners to the consequences of getting caught.

“We believe that this campaign will directly impact consumer safety by clarifying that only cannabis purchased from licensed retailers has met the state’s safety standards while sending a clear message to unlicensed businesses that they need to get licensed or shut down,” declared Ajax.

California’s cannabis ad campaign will be visible on numerous billboards scattered throughout the state, as well as on various social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Also featured on the ads will be a website address — CApotcheck.com — directing shoppers to an online resource where they can peruse licensed stores.