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ID: HR23-976
Presenting author: Daniel Bear

Presenting author biography:

Dr. Daniel Bear is a drugs policy researcher, with more than 15 years of experience. He holds a Masters and PhD in Social Policy from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and is a Professor in the Faculty of Social and Community Services at Humber College in Toronto.

More Than One Kind of Expert: Responses to a proposed set of harm reduction campaign materials by cannabis consumers, budtenders, and cannabis policy and public health experts.

Daniel Bear, Ashley Hosker-Field, Marilyn Cresswell
The legalization of cannabis in Canada in 2018 provided a new context within which discussions of harm reduction and cannabis consumption could take place. This required the development of new harm reduction focused education materials. Our team conducted a mixed methods study involving 1,598 survey responses from Canadians 18-30 who consume cannabis, and ten focus groups with the same population. With the data from that research, we asked students in a Bachelors of Creative Advertising program to develop initial ideas for a public education campaign focused on harm reduction and young cannabis consumers, and utilizing a human-centred design approach. This presentation reports on the reaction from three different groups that reviewed the initial campaign materials produced by those students during a series of follow-up focus groups; cannabis consumers, budtenders (sales associates in retail stores), and cannabis policy/health experts. We identified that consumers focused on the perceived stigma present in some of the ideas and were interested in building more interaction into the materials. Budtenders were much like consumers in most respects, but often focused on how information in the campaign could be used to make their jobs easier and the experiences of newer consumers more enjoyable. Cannabis policy and health experts were most focused on scientific accuracy and ensuring the campaign materials spoke from a voice of a peer, not an academic. The views of all three groups helped shape the final materials into a successful campaign that rolled out online and in retail stores across several Canadian provinces. This research highlights the importance of engaging a variety of stakeholders during the development of harm reduction campaigns.