SA should learn from Kingston’s cannabis awareness campaign
South Africa should take a closer look at the Jamaican Government’s campaign to destigmatize cannabis as it moves towards legalization. The Carribbean nation’s Ministry of Health and Wellness launched its “Good Ganja Sense” campaign on 29 November 2021
The Ministry’s head, Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn, said in a press release that the foundation of the campaign was a new website that provides resources and articles on marijuana’s health impacts and benefits and seeks to debunk myths about cannabis.
Check out the Good Ganja Sense You Tube video here.
She said the site contained “several resources that will certainly stimulate more talk about ganja.”
“The pages give a background on the campaign, links to media items and also connect directly to the website of the National Council on Drug Abuse,” she said. “It has a contact form too, so you can get in touch with the ‘Good Ganja’ team.”
Using digital tech to “burn down ganja myths and go with the science
“We are in a digital world where people are finding information for themselves, and the information may be false or it very well may be true, depending on where they go,” Cuthbert-Flynn said. “Ganja will no longer be underpinned by what has been passed down through oral traditions and old tales, but fact-based information that is now available at the fingertips”.
As part of that effort to deliver facts on cannabis issues, the new site features a myth-busting section that debunks notions that marijuana use makes people lazy, that it lowers sperm count, that it leads people to seek out more dangerous drugs and more.
One section focuses on whether marijuana can cause fatal overdoses, citing a Drug Enforcement Administration fact sheet that reports that no cannabis-causes overdose death has ever been reported.
“Thanks, DEA,” the site says. “The experts have spoken.”
The education effort also features bus ads that urge people to “Burn Ganja Myths” and instead “Go With The Science.”
Cuthbert-Flynn said that although Jamaica was closely associated with cannabis culture, there were still a lot of public misconceptions.
“We know very well too, the ills and thrills associated with the Internet—much false health information has been spread far and wide through technology, but today, we can put the right information out into the space,” she said. “But now, with science and technology combined, Jamaica now has in its arsenal, a resource that puts into context, legislation, medical information and an overall evidence-based dialogue that can change the attitudes and behaviours that Jamaicans hold towards ganja.”