Anti-cannabis propaganda brought to you by the gov’t of Manitoba

The Manitoba government has released two anti-cannabis propaganda videos warning of what will happen to you if you use cannabis and/or buy your cannabis off the street and they are almost laughable in their see-through scare tactics.

The two clips are a hilarious watch and while both are under 17 seconds long, the Manitoba government has packed in as much reefer madness hysteria as it possibly can.

Cannabis in Manitoba- Know the Risks

According to the video, cannabis will:

  • Affect your brain development
  • Lower IQ
  • Impair critical thinking
  • Affect learning ability
  • Impair judgment
  • Kill you

Ok, that last point was a joke, but you could easily swap out “cannabis” and replace it with “alcohol” because every single point, including the last one, applies to alcohol, and probably even more so than cannabis. In fact, alcohol is even worse than cannabis because it can bring out the worst in you- from violence due to increased aggression to public urination to getting blackout drunk and maybe even dying!

It’s worth noting that smoking too much cannabis cannot kill you (unless you smoke a few hundred pounds of it in 15 minutes).

Besides, the risks of cannabis stated in the video are usually only temporary, and it’s misleading to imply otherwise. It’s not like you take one toke of cannabis and your ability to think critically is irreversibly impaired forever. Much like alcohol, the effects of cannabis eventually wear off with time, although heavy users may experience more lasting and serious side effects.

Street Cannabis- Isn’t worth the risk

In case you can’t watch the video, here are Manitoba’s reasons why street cannabis just isn’t worth it:

  • No quality control
  • Could put your life at risk
  • Supports crime
  • Could get you arrested

Let’s break it down, point by point.

No quality control

Just because your cannabis comes from a Health Canada-approved licensed producer is no guarantee that you’re getting quality cannabis. One look at the multiple recalls from multiple licensed producers over the past few years is proof of that.

The reasons for these recalls runs the gamut from issues with labeling and packaging to the much more serious use of banned pesticides, and if you want to see  Health Canada’s compliance and enforcement reports from 2015-2017, they are available here.

Could put your life at risk

This is easily the most “WTF” point here and the video and description conveniently do not list any sources for this claim. Exploring the link does not seem to offer any insight into what the Manitoba government means by this either.

So how could buying street cannabis put your life at risk? The government of Manitoba is probably implying that street cannabis might not be what it says it is- it could be tainted with another (more dangerous) drug or it could simply not be cannabis at all (like a synthetic cannabinoid, perhaps).

Maybe Manitoba is implying your life could be put at risk by overzealous police officers, especially if you’re Indigenous because, according to CBC, 11 of the 19 people killed by police in Manitoba between 2000-2017 were Indigenous.

Without clarification, we can’t be sure.

And while buying cannabis from approved sources may be safer, that doesn’t mean you’re in the clear, as Manitoba seems to be conveniently forgetting that licensed producers like Organigram and Broken Coast have been caught using banned pesticides like myclobutanil on their cannabis in the past.

Although myclobutanil is approved for human use in some cases, it’s banned for cannabis plants because when it’s burned, it creates poisonous vapors containing hydrogen cyanide and hydrogen chloride- which is a HUGE problem, especially when you’re supposed to be providing sick patients with supposed medical-grade cannabis buds to smoke!

Supports crime

Supports crime? Studies have shown that the cannabis industry is largely made up of peaceful and otherwise law-abiding citizens, who are really only criminals on paper because of the unjust cannabis laws.

A report submitted by the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition to the federal marijuana task force back in 2016 found:

  1. While the label of organized criminal may be accurately applied to a minority of the individuals involved in the illicit cannabis industry, the defining characteristics of the term are not applicable to the majority.
  1. Unsubstantiated media and police reports portray the cannabis industry as dominated by organized crime.
  1. Evidence suggests a very low involvement of organized crime in the cannabis industry in Canada; the majority of those in the industry tend to be non-violent and have minimal, if any, involvement with other criminal activities.
  1. Those involved in cannabis production are typically small-scale growers who are active members of their communities.
  1. Those in the cannabis industry have diverse motivations, including supplementing income, reducing costs, pursuing business and personal interest, controlling quality and producing diverse strains, and avoiding the illegal market.
  1. Most of those involved in the illicit cannabis market are keen to be part of a legal market

Could get you arrested

This one is actually true, 100%. The CBC news story on policing in Manitoba referred to earlier also stated that Manitoba had the highest adult incarceration rate of all provinces for the past 7 years in a row– and Indigenous people made up almost 70% of the incarcerated adult population.

Manitoba says don’t buy “street cannabis” because it wants that tax money for propaganda like this

Never mind the monopolistic crony capitalism of the LP’s. The biggest reason why Manitoba is warning you against buying “street cannabis” is because it wants that sweet, sweet tax revenue, and they are willing to arrest you over it.

Make no mistake, this is a massive cash grab. As reported by the Canadian Press:

The provincial government says a “social responsibility fee” of six percent will be applied to a cannabis retailer’s total annual revenues.

The government is also applying a markup of 75 cents per gram, plus an additional nine percent, at the wholesale distribution level.”

According to CBC, the average price for a gram of cannabis in Manitoba is $7.21, so that 75 cents per gram markup works out to 10.4%. Oh, and they’re also charging GST on top of all that.

So adding up the 6% “social responsibility fee”, 10.4% markup and additional 9% wholesale markup, and 5% GST means the government of Manitoba will be raking in 30.4% in assorted fees, taxes, and markups on recreational cannabis!

Or you could avoid this entire shitshow and just grow your own- oh wait, you can’t, because Manitoba banned home cultivation, too. If you get caught, you’re looking at a $2542 fine!

In summary

Perhaps sensing the huge amount of backlash, tongue lashing and general mockery these videos would rightfully receive, the government of Manitoba’s YouTube channel has blocked all comments for the videos in question, but if you’re looking for something that’s just as likely to make you laugh as it is to infuriate you, you can check out the entire two video playlist by clicking here.


Canadian Drug Policy Coalition: ORGANIZED CRIME IN THE CANNABIS MARKET: Evidence and Implications.

CBC: Manitoba cannabis rules include $2,542 fine for growing your own.

CBC: Most people who died in police encounters in Manitoba were Indigenous, CBC investigation finds.

CBC: Pot consumers paying less than $7 a gram, Statistics Canada survey finds.

Georgia Straight: Myclobutanil: Why are some licensed cannabis producers using this banned pesticide?.

Vancouver Courier: Cannabis sales in Manitoba will be subject to government fee and markup.