Can you think of a single Public Service Announcement (PSA) that isn’t corny, misinformed, or unintentionally hilarious?
The only one that comes to mind might just be a new creation by one of Canada’s most remote territories.
The North West Territories (NWT), one of Canada’s three territories, has launched an education initiative that combines comics, augmented reality, and cannabis education in one nifty little package, intended to educate young citizens on cannabis use. The four comic series–all of which are hella trippy–is currently available online and physically in locations frequented by young adults, like libraries, for example.
With the help of Weedini the Genie, Roach the Raven, Stoney the Inukshuk, and a slightly disturbing unborn fetus, kids in the NWT can finally get answers to their cannabis questions.
One comic, starring a raven as a stereotypical hippy named Roach, sees two young men about to toke up at 4:20. The raven catches their attention because of his persistent coughing while eating garbage. The three have an insightful chat about cannabis. First Nation mythology sees ravens as tricksters, but Roach drops some serious knowledge. He teaches them about identifying THC percentages and greening-out.
Another comic, this time with Weedini the Geenie, shows the spirit of an Elder summoned from an ancient bong that two young women find in an attic. He shares cautionary advice about cannabis abuse and its potential hazards on the underage mind.
But these aren’t just comics. The augmented reality part comes in after users download an app called Zappar that uses the phone camera to transform the still-life universe into a moving and talking picture.
The comics are charming for their honesty in addressing the subject. They openly acknowledge that underage people will inevitably use cannabis, but advise to do so in a way that exercises caution.
Another notable feature of the series is its use of Indigenous legends, as Indigenous people of the NWT make up one-third of the population.