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A Retrospective Look at Some Crazy Anti-Marijuana Commercials

Talking dogs and aliens are just a few of these bizarre retro anti-cannabis PSAs.

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Since 1988, the Office of National Drug Control Policy have produced anti-drug -- specifically anti-cannabis -- PSAs to deter teenagers from indulging. More recently, anti-marijuana commercials have become less blunt (pun intended), but their scare tactics are no less terrifying for young adults. In an effort to instill a subconscious fear of the drug, anti-marijuana propaganda tends to follow a similar pattern: the commercial portrays an immediate and often irreversible physical or mental change from cannabis-use, such as paralyzation, psychosis, or your brain frying like an egg. As a teenager, these ads fed to many young viewers a representation of cannabis that was not only untrue, but most importantly, wildly deceptive. Now, as we get closer to normalizing legalization and realizing many of the beneficial medical qualities of the flower, it's time to get nostalgic and appreciate the hilariousness of some of the most notable, and hilarious, anti-marijuana commercials of the past decades:

Above the Influence is a government-funded movement that aims to broadcast alcohol and drug prevention at a national-level. However, with commercials like the one here, Above the Influence is implying that psychosis is a result of smoking cannabis. Have you ever seen and heard your dog talk after smoking a joint? And if so, are you sure that's marijuana you're smoking?

“She won’t answer you... or, she can’t,” Sarah’s friend says, dramatically. Once again, Above the Influence insinuates a permanent physical and mental change from marijuana-use. But just to clarify for Sarah’s friend, being unable to speak is not a result of smoking marijuana.

In the 1970’s, before the creation of the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, this PSA had a much more direct tactic than more modern anti-drug commercials. Titled, “The Blunt Truth,” the ironically four minute and 20 second video warns teenagers about the dangers of “grass.” “The smoke from this plant causes a brief state of euphoria, immediately followed by permanent insanity,” a man’s voice threatens. Lighten up, guy!

 

And most possibly the most laughable of all… this PSA suggests that if you smoke cannabis, a UFO will float down from the sky, resulting in a visit from an alien who will steal your girlfriend.