Police officers in one of Colorado’s most popular ski and snowboard destinations rolled out a new ad campaign to discourage public pot use and remind tourists that state-specific cannabis legalization does not extend to the slopes. But instead of using handcuffs to prove their point, cops in Vail, Colorado pulled out their stoner joke book and used humor to try and reach marijuana users on a more level playing field.
According to Westword, the new campaign — “Vail Let’s Be Blunt” — will lean on cannabis slang to try and reach pot-friendly tourists who may not know the rules about getting lit while skiing. Featuring photos of snowglobes and other winter sports imagery, the new ads feature taglines like “A vacation should not include probation” and “The only thing ‘Baked’ on top of the mountain are the cookies in the restaurant.”
“People don’t think of messages coming from law enforcement as positive or using humor,” Vail PD Administrative Commander Craig Bettis told Westword. “They usually expect to hear about crimes or investigations. We’re using humor to break down preconceived notions and do a better job of relating to the community.”
Vail cops said that they have heard and seen near-constant reports of people smoking weed in White River National Forest and in most common areas across the popular vacation destination. But amidst the never-ending puffs of cannabis smoke, Vail cops said that they aren’t looking to discourage pot users, but have instead turned their focus to encouraging safe, legal cannabis consumption.
“We don’t want people to come here and get in trouble,” Bettis said. “We want to get the information out so people can use marijuana responsibly and hopefully share that same message with someone else. It’s a way for people to think about if where they’re using marijuana is safe, such as using it on the slopes or in the forest lands.”
Like a number of other tongue-in-cheek cannabis PSA’s that have debuted in the era of legalization, the Vail ad campaign is not planned to last forever. But while tourists continue to spark up spliffs in areas reserved for ski lifts and family fun, cops are hoping that the blunt messages can help change cloud patterns on the mountain.
“We’re not sure if this is going to stay permanently yet, but the idea is gaining traction,” Bettis told Westword. “We’ll take the feedback we get online and see if we can use it for future campaigns. This is a shift in paradigm in how we’re communicating with the public, so hopefully they’ll keep enjoying the new way of educating people about marijuana use.”
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