Stoner Sloth Commercials the Latest Reefer Madness Nonsense


From the tales of murderous madness to offensive racism to the “this is brain on drugs” frying pan, prohibitionist propaganda has done more harm than good. At worst, such propaganda has created unnecessary fear and helped lead to unnecessarily draconian penalties. In many cases, the message is so ridiculous on its face that the campaign actually leads to more curiosity about using drugs.

Now, we have “stoner sloth” commercials that try to make the claim that cannabis use only makes you worse at everything in life. The Huffington Post reports:

“Stoner Sloth” is a series of videos purportedly meant to illustrate the horrors of marijuana to impressionable teens. The videos star people in large sloth costumes struggling through various life events due to how high they are. At the end of each ad — after the featured sloth has had trouble in class or embarrassed itself at dinner — the tagline “You’re Worse On Weed” is plastered across the screen.

The whole thing is the work of Australia’s New South Wales Department of Premier and Cabinet, Australian media outlet The New Matilda reports. (The New Matilda does publish some satire, but this story was not marked with a “satire” tag.)

“The “stoner sloth”public awareness campaign has been designed to encourage positive behaviours in young people before bad habits start, and motivate discontinued use of cannabis before they become dependent,” a Department of Premier and Cabinet spokesperson told The Huffington Post in a statement. “The campaign is designed to appeal to, and be ‘shareable’ among, teenagers, who are some of the most vulnerable to cannabis use. We know that younger audiences respond more to campaigns highlighting the short-term consequences of their actions.”

By claiming that cannabis use basically makes you unable to function in life, teens will immediately start to research cannabis users that have managed great accomplishments, from becoming the one of the great scientific minds of all time to creating great art to achieving unprecedented Olympic glory. Teenagers are too smart for such nonsense. Let’s stick to the truth about brain development and give young people the actual truth about drugs, including the fact that developing brains should refrain from using drugs. Actual science will trump exaggerations and “stoner sloths” any day.


Anthony Johnson

Anthony, a longtime cannabis law reform advocate, was Chief Petitioner and co-author of Measure 91, Oregon's cannabis legalization effort. He served as director of both the New Approach Oregon and Vote Yes on 91 PACs, the political action committees responsible for the state's legalization campaign. As director of New Approach Oregon, Anthony continues to work towards effectively implementing the cannabis legalization system while protecting small business owners and the rights of patients. He sits on the Oregon Marijuana Rules Advisory Committee and fights for sensible rules at the legislature as well as city councils and county commissions across the state. Anthony helps cannabis business comply with Oregon's laws and advises advocates across the country. He also serves as content director of both the International Cannabis Business Conference and the Oregon Marijuana Business Conference, helping share the vision of moving the cannabis industry forward in a way that maintains the focus on keeping people out of prison and protecting patients. He was a member of the Oregon Health Authority Rules Advisory Committee, assisting the drafting of the administrative rules governing Oregon’s state-licensed medical marijuana facilities. He first co-authored and helped pass successful marijuana law reform measures while a law student at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law. He passed the Oregon Bar in 2005 and practiced criminal defense for two years before transitioning to working full-time in the political advocacy realm. His blogs on Marijuana Politics are personal in nature and don't speak for or reflect the opinions of any group or organization.