Denver Launches “High Costs” Marijuana Education and Prevention Campaign Targeted at City’s Youth

DENVER – Many Denver youth feel that using marijuana is the social norm, but that’s not actually the case. In fact, 74 percent of Denver youth had not used marijuana in the last 30 days, according to the 2015 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey.
That’s one of the many facts and statistics to be relayed by a new City of Denver education campaign designed to spark conversations about marijuana among Denver’s youth.
“Our High Costs campaign is designed to help Denver’s youth understand the legal, educational, health and social risks that come from using marijuana underage,” Mayor Michael Hancock said. “Conversations about marijuana happen everywhere, and our goal is to provide facts that are not only accurate about the risks and realities of marijuana use, but that resonate with youth across Denver.”
The campaign utilizes a variety of platforms, including billboards, school bus vehicle signage and fence art to be displayed at Manual High School, Snapchat filters, a game show called “Weeded Out” and a Weeded Out trivia card game. High Costs aims to equip youth with the facts they need to make responsible decisions and provide perspective that sparks discussion among peers to prove that being stoned is not the social norm.
The High Costs youth marijuana education is based in research gathered in part from the 2015 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey (HKCS) and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) 2016 Health Statements and Monitoring Health Concerns Related to Marijuana in Colorado Survey. The campaign is also informed by the very audience it is targeting, provided by a city-organized youth commission and additional youth surveying and focus groups.
Some of the key findings that will be integrated into the campaign materials are:

  • Seventy-four percent of Denver high school students do not use marijuana. (Source)
  • One in six teens who use marijuana will get addicted. (Source)
  • More than 200,000 students have been denied financial aid due to a drug arrest or minor drug-offense. (Source)
  • Marijuana use is associated with a seven-fold increased risk of depression. (Source)

In November 2013, City and County of Denver voters approved a 3.5 percent special sales tax on retail marijuana to support the city's marijuana regulation, enforcement and education efforts. The City of Denver has initiated a creative campaign to educate its youth in a creative, effective and positive manner about marijuana. The campaign does not try to scare youth, but rather to teach Denver's youth about the city's laws, about the potential harmful effects of youth marijuana use – both socially and physiologically – and to give youth a better overall understanding of marijuana as well as useful tools for avoiding it. This campaign is one part of that overall mission to decrease use among youth.

City and County of Denver
Department of Excise & Licenses
Dan Rowland, Director of Public Affairs
Office: 720.865.2686