Beginning January 1, 2018, marijuana was legalized in the state of California. Although it has only been a little more than a week, the Office of Traffic and Safety is facing a big challenge already. The office’s first PSA ad has been taken down amid controversy.
The message of the office’s first PSA video was “DUI Doesn’t Just Mean Booze,” and advised adults to avoid driving high on marijuana. The ad was rescinded due to backlash, with its critics saying that the ad actually promoted drug use in the first half of the video. Rob Stutzman, a conservative political consultant, stated, “Imagine [the] same [ad] extolling the virtues of alcohol? This is absurd.”
The Director of the Office of Traffic and Safety, Rhonda Craft, released a statement regarding the controversy: “The Office of Traffic Safety is committed to informing people about the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. We are cognizant and share the concerns expressed over certain elements of our most recent ads. As a result, we will continue to refine and improve messaging as we move forward.”
Until new ads are designed, the office will be using a Driving Under the Influence of Drugs ad created originally for their 2017 campaign. It looks like the Office of Traffic and Safety has a learning curve to manage when it comes to recreational marijuana legalization—just like the rest of our government’s institutions.