We’ve heard of using augmented reality for storytelling, but this example offers a unique use case that’s for a good cause. Canada’s Northwest Territories are using AR to educate young people and adults about cannabis or marijuana.

PSAs About Cannabis/Marijuana

The weed-friendly government released the AR posters with federal funding to help youngsters get reliable information about the plant and its effects. Getting details by the way of word of mouth or from friends who are inexperienced isn’t how they’re approaching the matter.

Their government is actually investing $1.8 million in funding and hosting evidence-based info sessions at public libraries! The funding will be used over 3 years time in the Northwest Territories and will showcase augmented reality posters that people can scan and view from the app on their mobile phone or device.

The new educational advertisement is drawn and written in the comic format with panels that weave a narrative of the positive outcomes and negative consequences of partaking in cannabis. More specifically, one comic called “Homegrown” addresses how pregnant women can pass THC to the baby she’s carrying and that it’s unsafe.

Seeing as its the literal Northern Lights that’s passing along this message, sure it’s a bit unconventional and a tad silly even for me. However, there’s no doubt of its creativity and effectiveness to inform the inexperienced public.

Civilized says, “They seemed to really like the creepy baby,” said NWT Health Minister Glen Abernethy. “I thought it might be not as popular, because it is a little creepy. But it really resonated well with the kids.”

Informing the Public with Art and AR

Cannabis comics were once considered offbeat and outsider art forms, but now these mediums are becoming commonplace to our Canadian neighbors. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation shares, “Now that the app is set up, the territorial government has the capacity to go back and add information and make changes. So it can be updated as more information is gathered.”

With legalization, cannabis research is more plentiful. This helps to provide consumers of the plant and those growing up around it in their community with evidence-backed information. The content of the posters and PSAs dive into topics like smoking and driving, which is a reasonable topic for teens and their parents to discuss as they are learning to drive.

In the future, the plan is to place the educational ads into a publication. No word yet on if that publication will be paperback or digital. Digital content would save money with less printing costs and wouldn’t put heavy demands on the environment.

Canadians are quickly utilizing augmented reality to educate the public on the topic of cannabis use. Which is a sign of progress that states like California, Colorado, Washington, and others must consider if they don’t want to fall behind on public awareness.

Cannabusinesses in the North are implementing AR product info and marketing, rolling out AR canna kiosks, and are now educating the public using this fascinating new technology. Will the U.S. and other countries follow suit?