More About Marijuana Campaign Moves Forward with Website Redesign, Meeting Additional Legislative Mandates

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

July 18, 2019

CONTACT: Cedric Sinclair, Director of Communications, 857-268-6454; Maryalice Gill, Press Secretary, 857-292-4891; cnbpress@mass.gov

“More About Marijuana” Campaign Moves Forward with Website Redesign, Meeting Additional Legislative Mandates

Next public awareness campaign phase focuses on the dangers of home manufacturing

BOSTON—Almost one year after unveiling its state-mandated public awareness campaign, “More About Marijuana,” the Cannabis Control Commission (Commission) has announced a website redesign of MoreAboutMJ.Org in consultation with the Department of Public Health. The next phase of implementation will focus on cautioning Massachusetts residents about the dangers of home manufacturing, in accordance with state law.

“Based on the ‘More About Marijuana’ website analytics, it is clear that Massachusetts residents want additional tips and information to talk with their children about cannabis use and learn about their rights and responsibilities as adult consumers,” Commissioner Jennifer Flanagan said. “As more stores open around the state, I am pleased the website redesign will offer new content and better navigation tools to help answer questions that may be on the minds of adults, parents, and kids who may be at risk of consuming underage.”

Campaign Launch

Chapter 55 of the Acts of 2017 requires DPH, in consultation with the Commission, to develop public awareness campaigns that highlight effective youth prevention strategies. The law also requires the campaign to disseminate information on responsible adult use and the dangers of home manufacturing.

After “More About Marijuana” launched last August, content was distributed via social media. Messaging focused on youth prevention and conversation starters for parents and guardians and the rights and responsibilities of adult-use cannabis consumers in Massachusetts. The public also was engaged through television, radio, website banners, billboards, transit, and a temporary website hosted at Mass.Gov.

Content was informed by efforts in other legalized states, a pre-campaign survey, secondary research, and 18 focus groups in Massachusetts with adults of different age groups, attitudes towards cannabis, and consumption habits, plus parents of middle school and high school students. Additional research, including post-campaign survey data, will inform the state about its ability to shift constituents’ knowledge and behavior and will be published in a future report on campaign outcomes.

Website Redesign

Over eight months from August 2018 to March 2019, MoreAboutMJ.Org received nearly 90,000 pageviews, prior to 14 weeks of paid promotion that increased traffic to 766,000 total visits. The campaign saw an 836% increase in website sessions and a 533% increase in users over that same time period.

The new campaign website, which was designed by the Commission in consultation with DPH, will be hosted at MoreAboutMJ.Org. The enhanced resource will retain visitors for longer periods of time and allow for greater information intake through added content, new features, and improved navigation tools that are tailored to specific constituencies.

For example, adults ages 21 and older will have access to more information about the state laws, safety tips and exceptions for consuming cannabis in Massachusetts, in addition to educational information on product types, and locations of licensed stores operating in the Commonwealth.

The website will include messaging for parents and guardians to learn more about the consequences of underage use, possible signs that their child may be consuming, and discussion points for addressing cannabis if they consume themselves. An interactive feature addressing the health effects of cannabis will enable all visitors to click through and learn about specific areas of the body and how they are impacted by consumption.

Next Phase

As part of Section 51 of Chapter 55 of the Acts of the 2017, for the next phase of “More About Marijuana,” the agencies are charged with issuing warnings about the dangers of home manufacturing marijuana products. Research to accomplish that mandate has already begun through interviews with public health researchers, fire and public safety officials, licensed cannabis and allied industry business owners, and self-identified home manufacturers.

As a result, new campaign materials are under development which will remind the public, among other cautions, that extraction of cannabis with propane, butane, and other flammable substances is dangerous and illegal, and that growing plants without following fire codes increases the risks of electrical fires. The next phase is expected to launch in the coming months.

To learn more about the public awareness campaign, visit MoreAboutMJ.Org, or follow the Commission on Facebook and Twitter. The Commission is available at 617-701-8400 or CannabisCommission@mass.gov.

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