Can marijuana counter-marketing prevent underage use? Analyzing youth response to Colorado’s “Don’t Be a Lab Rat” campaign

Colorado became the first state to legalize recreational marijuana, in 2012. Health organizations and public policy makers, including the Colorado Governor’s Office, were concerned by how this action would affect the acceptability of marijuana consumption behavior among youths under 21 years of age.
Sukle et al


  • Youths have a keen awareness that recreational marijuana legalization is new, and the extent of possible harmful effects on youths are relatively unknown. Youths do not want to be experimented on.
  • Young people value their brains and want to protect them from harm. Future counter-marketing efforts could leverage this insight for marijuana or other undesirable products and behaviors for youths.