Uruguay is Using Weed to Stop Stoned Driving

As marijuana legalization spreads throughout the world, one main sticking point for the opposition has been the potential impairment of drivers. With more people using cannabis products, it has become increasingly important to acknowledge the dangers of driving while stoned.

It was once believed that, like alcohol, breathalyzer devices could solve the issue and keep impaired drivers off the road; that theory was debunked. Because marijuana users build up strong tolerances that they wouldn’t necessarily acquire with alcohol, two drivers with similar THC-content in their blood may perform differently in driving situations.

potsters-3As nations and states race to figure out how to best detect someone’s level of “stoned,” Uruguay is taking a slightly different approach.

The South American country that legalized marijuana for adults back in 2013 is using the plant itself to combat cannabis-impaired driving. Uruguay’s Association of Cannabis Studies started a poster campaign over the holidays in the well-traveled area of Montevideo where they used special paper derived from hemp to display warnings about the dangers of smoking and driving.

Hemp plants were shredded and flattened before they were completely dried out. Once all of the moisture was removed from the fibers, they were hand-crafted into sheets and printed using a silk screening process.

“We reasoned that if posters made out of pot gave you advice about safer driving, it was probably the most ideal way in which marijuana can actually be beneficial to someone while behind the wheel,” says Juan Ciapessoni, Chief Creative Officer of The Electric Factory, the marketing firm who designed the 6’ x 3’ “potsters.”

Ciapessoni added, “the main objective of all of this is to make people understand how important is to be very responsible when driving. It was equally important for us to send a big message so that it will have meaningful social impact.”

Uruguay won’t have to worry about vandals stealing the posters or ripping off pieces to smoke, as the paper milling process removes any chance of getting high from the already THC-deficient hemp plants.

“It would be really funny, but not effective, because the process for producing the paper removed the psychoactive effect,” says Ciapessoni. “So if someone smoked it, it would be like smoking a standard paper.”

Cover Image Courtesy of AdWeek

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