A new campaign warning children and teens about the use of marijuana is out, and it appears not everybody is happy about it.
The name of the campaign is “Don’t Be a Lab Rat” and was funded by was funded by legal settlements with pharmaceutical companies. Besides video ads, organizers hope some large rat cages placed around the Denver area will also get their point across. One of those cages has already been vandalized.
There are two cages. One is at the Denver Public Library and the other is not far from Coors Field where the message hasn’t gone over well with everyone.
Strategically placed at the Denver Skatepark, vandals haven’t waited long. A sign mentioning marijuana’s “negative effects” has been changed to “positive.”
“The negative, but what is the negative? Do you really know?” said one person at the skate park, who didn’t want to be identified.
“Who are we to judge what’s negative and positive?” another said.
Added to the anti-marijuana message someone wrote, “Smoking weed saved my life” on a sign on the cage.
Dr. Larry Wolk heads the state health department.
“If they are defacing it or their doing something with regard to graffiti or gathering in the cages, at least they are taking notice … and let the debate occur,” Wolk said.
The cage suggests because the effects are not fully known, those who use marijuana are a lot like lab rats.
“It kind of messes my memory little bit. I kind of got a bad memory now because of it,” a skateboarder said.
Some skateboarders suggested the campaign may be futile at the skate park.
“Kids aren’t going to listen to their parents, they’re going to listen to a white sign by the skate park?” another skateboarder said.
But parent Glen Miles stood nearby with his daughter, Temple.
“We want to give them a fighting chance out of the gate, and this is positive right here, this is a thinker,” Miles said.
A commercial to play at movie theaters cites research studies while showing kids in a car smoking marijuana, adding, “Don’t be a lab rat.” But the message has already been lost on some people. As CBS4’s Rick Sallinger was leaving the skate park there was a young man smoking marijuana right inside the cage.
Organizers plan to have more of the cages at schools and other locations in the future, hopefully, for them, with a better reception.