WASCOP builds community awareness of the harms of marijuana
More than 232,000 Wyoming residents received strategic messaging on the harms marijuana causes to people and communities through the There is No Debate Marijuana Education and Awareness Campaign in 2016-2017. The population of Wyoming is 584,153 so the campaign reached an estimated 40 percent of residents. Highlights of the campaign are included below.
There is No Debate Promotional Materials
At the heart of the first year’s grassroots campaign was the hard-hitting There is No Debate promotional campaign. Featuring brochures, postcards, and toolkits delivered statewide, the materials feature clear and compelling messaging on the risks of marijuana use, as well as fact-based statistics on how marijuana harms people and communities.
- Working with Superintendents, Law Enforcement, and Community Leaders, the There is No Debate promotional materials were mailed to 39,000 homes with school-age children. With an average household population in Wyoming of 2.5 residents this campaign alone reached 97,500 people.
- WASCOP also mailed the There is No Debate materials to an additional 42,000 homes in Park, Big Horn, Washakie, Hot Springs, Sheridan, and Johnson counties through a mailing list provided by the Buyers Guide and County Bounty publication lists. Again, with an average of 2.5 residents per home, this mailing reached 105,000 residents.
- WASCOP turned the There is No Debate promotional materials into a powerful media campaign through radio commercials recorded by local leaders, including law enforcement professionals, educators, and health professionals. During Phase One, the commercials were aired on a limited number of stations reaching an additional 20,000 residents with plans to expand the commercials statewide in Phase Two of the campaign.
- Wyoming is a state where community pride is reflected in the number of residents who attend statewide events. One of the most powerful ways that the There is No Debate Materials were distributed was through statewide events including:
- State and County Fairs – There is No Debate materials were distributed through partnerships with the DARE program (a natural partnership since many law enforcement officials represented by WASCOP are also leaders of the DARE program). More than 60,000 people attended the State Fair alone, with an estimated 2,000 people stopping by the DARE booth for materials including the There is No Debate campaign.
- An estimated 20,000 people attended this year’s Wrestling, Volleyball, and Basketball state tournaments. There is No Debate materials were distributed at each of the tournaments at the Casper Events Center, again reaching at least 2,000 people who came in contact with the materials.
Social Media/Website Campaign
WASCOP established www.ThereIsNoDebate.org as a way to communicate the There is No Debate message statewide. We have also begun promoting the campaign through the There is No Debate Facebook page. While our social media efforts are just beginning, we have tracked more than 64,000 impressions on our Facebook page.
- Hundreds of community leaders participated at 22 WASCOP-sponsored community meetings featuring noted marijuana expert Ben Cort. Participants have received monthly e-mail updates providing ongoing updates.
- More than 200 community leaders gathered April 24 at the Casper Events Center for talks by top national experts on marijuana who addressed the impact that marijuana has on youth and communities at the Wyoming Association of Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police (WASCOP) Marijuana Education Summit. There was significant statewide media coverage of the gathering, reaching many additional residents.
- WASCOP co-hosted a May 24 gathering of more than 100 leaders from across Wyoming in partnership with the Governor’s Council on Impaired Driving. The gathering focused on recent studies that show the dangers of driving while under the influence of marijuana.
- WASCOP continued its role educating employees across Wyoming about safety issues related to today’s higher potency strains of marijuana. At one gathering alone, more than 500 employees were empowered with information.
- WASCOP worked with a top-quality independent firm to establish baseline data on how much people in Wyoming know about marijuana. The information will be used to measure the success of the campaign, and help educate people on how popular opinion about marijuana is changing (report available on request).
- WASCOP worked with Governor Mead to establish an official Marijuana Awareness Week in Wyoming, including a proclamation he issued statewide.
- WASCOP also presented to the national Coalitions for Drug Free Children (CADCA) conference attended by thousands of national leaders.
- WASCOP is working to develop statewide youth-focused communications outreach. This is a major initiative for the coming year.
- In August, WASCOP launched a media campaign to educate visitors for the Great American Solar Eclipse that the state’s laws against driving while impaired and possession marijuana would be enforced. The release was picked up by 265 media outlets, including US News and World Report, the Denver Post, 9News, CBS4, and many others. The PR Newswire report indicated a total Wyoming audience off 7,300 and a national viewing audience of 88,551,553
- Finally, WASCOP has done numerous TV, radio, and newspaper interviews, as well as writing several opinion pieces for publications across the state.