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Marijuana: Government urges teens to 'Stay Real'

In 1923 it became illegal for Canadians to possess marijuana. But the laws have always been flouted, by recreational users who just want to get high, and by medicinal users seeking relief from pain and illness. From cannabis caf├ęs to courtrooms, doctors and patients, rabble-rousers and senior statesmen have engaged in a passionate debate over marijuana possession. But the laws have endured.

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Don't try drugs...yet. That's the message behind a new Canada-wide anti-drug campaign kicking off next week. The gist of the campaign is that kids shouldn't try marijuana or hashish until they are at least 18, and mature enough to decide responsibly. The mild approach impresses even pro-marijuana groups like the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). As we see in this clip, the one thing everyone agrees on is that pot isn't for kids.
. In May 1982, Canada's Health Promotion Directorate commissioned a study of teens and marijuana. It found that one in four -- or 1.4 million -- Canadians between ages 12 and 19 had tried marijuana at least once.
. The study also found confusion and ignorance about the safety and health risks of marijuana. In response, the three-year "Stay Real" campaign included a 24-page informational pamphlet and a television advertising campaign.

. The May 1982 study found that peer pressure was a key factor in a teen's decision to try marijuana, but that this pressure declined when the teen reached his or her 20s. The goal of the television portion of the "Stay Real" campaign was "to build an attractive level or 'space' where a teen can go about his or her life without cannabis, yet without the stigma of being a 'goodie' or a 'wimp'."

. The "Stay Real" campaign was originally intended to accompany changes to marijuana legislation slated for August 1982. Those changes never happened, but the campaign went forward.
. NORML is an international non-profit lobby group that supports both the decriminalization and legalization of marijuana. But they also state, "marijuana is not for kids and should only be used responsibly by adults."

. U.S. President Bill Clinton admitted to trying marijuana when he was studying in England, but claims he didn't like it and didn't inhale.
. Some Canadian politicians that have admitted to trying marijuana: Jean Charest, Stockwell Day, Gilles Duceppe, Ralph Klein, Alexa McDonough, and Pierre Trudeau.
. Former New Brunswick Premier Richard Hatfield was caught with a small bag of marijuana in his suitcase during the Queen's royal visit in 1984. He was tried and acquitted.

. Former Prime Minister Kim Campbell admitted to trying marijuana once when she was younger, but she says she didn't get high, and didn't like it. In 1993 in Quebec City, Campbell got in hot water by telling reporters she didn't think what she had done was illegal. The RCMP disagreed. Canadian actor, comic and dope advocate Tommy Chong comments on Kim Campbell's experimentation here.
Medium: Television
Program: Saturday Report
Broadcast Date: March 5, 1983
Guest(s): Dale Alkerton, Alvada Pinder
Host: George McLean
Reporter: Christopher Walmsley
Duration: 2:30

Last updated: September 3, 2013

Page consulted on April 10, 2014

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