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Marijuana Backer Lauds Boulder for Rejecting "Racist" Anti-Pot Cages, Asks Hick to Apologize

dont.be.a.lab.rat.cage.2.565x300.jpg
A "Don't Be a Lab Rat" campaign cage. Additional images and more below.
Earlier this month, we told you about "Don't Be a Lab Rat," a new campaign aimed at dissuading teens from smoking pot. The multi-media effort, backed by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, includes oversized rat cages intended to be displayed in public places throughout the state.

Now, however, the City of Boulder has rejected the displays, and that cheers one cannabis-industry representative, who calls the cages racist and thinks Governor John Hickenlooper should apologize for the campaign. Additional photos and videos below.

See also: Anti-Pot "Don't Be a Lab Rat" Campaign Uses Disputed Facts That Might Be True

dont.be.a.lab.rat.website.image.jpg
An image from the Don't Be a Lab Rat website.
Earlier this month, Mike Sukle, founder and creative director for Sukle Advertising & Design, which was hired by the state to come up with the campaign, told us the concept "isn't something we took to the kids. It resulted from talking with them. And the thing that was most important to them was the harm it does to their brain. They were surprised by that. They see their brains as a really important element to who they are and they want to protect that."

Sukle conceded that "the whole science of developing brains and the effects marijuana has is in its infancy. While there's a pretty good set of research, a lot of people dispute it. They don't believe it. So we wanted to be very honest and straight-forward -- to say, 'Here's a study, people dispute it, but do you really want to take that chance? Don't be a lab rat. People are going to be watching you to either prove or disprove these studies.'"

The campaign includes TV public-service announcements and movie-theater spots intended to garner audience participation; see examples below. In addition, the agency created jumbo rat cages for display, with early locations including Red Rocks concerts, the Denver Central Library and the Denver Skatepark.

Folks hanging out at the latter location quickly offered their own comments on the cage placed there. As CBS4 reported, anti-smoking messages on signage was quickly altered with pro-pot statements and at least one person was caught on camera smoking pot inside the bars.

dont.be.a.lab.rat.cbs4.jpg
Courtesy of CBS4
You can view the complete CBS4 report below.

In the meantime, the Boulder Valley School District came out against allowing the rat cages at its properties in an August 24 Boulder Daily Camera article. BVSD spokesman Briggs Gamblin told the paper, "We had concerns about the use of human-scale rat cages being an effective tool for getting twelve-to-fifteen-year-olds to understand the risks involved with their developing brains."

Then, yesterday, the City of Boulder issued a press release whose subject line reads, "Boulder Declines 'Don't Be a Lab Rat' Cage Display." The rationale is described like so: "While the city firmly supports education campaigns to reduce illegal drug use and increase awareness among youth, the city respects the concerns shared by Boulder Valley School District and some members of the community about the use of a human-sized rat cage in the messaging. The city has declined the state's request to erect a cage on public property as part of the campaign."

Shawn Coleman, a lobbyist for the marijuana industry, has problems with the cages, too, and while he applauds the school district and the city for its stance, he uses much less cautious language to describe his objections.

Continue for more about Boulder's rejection of the "Don't Be a Lab Rat" cages, including additional photos and three videos.


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172 comments
David Schultz
David Schultz

Whoever imagined and paid for those cages were obviously high.

Che Weller
Che Weller

Funny...the cages are the same dimensions as a prison cell

Craig Struthers
Craig Struthers

I bet if you put 20 dollar bill in that cage you would catch Governor John Hickenlooper in a heart beat. =D

Jonah Menzies
Jonah Menzies

We're all fucking lab rats in one form or another.

Greg Squigy Markel
Greg Squigy Markel

where's the "don't become an alcoholic cage" ? I'd rather see those

Melissa Durgin
Melissa Durgin

I think someone doesn't understand how to market to young people!

Shawn McDonald
Shawn McDonald

Look at the stats for teenage alcoholism. Lets go after real problems and stop making cages and stop saying stupid things like the cages are racist.

Clara Madrid
Clara Madrid

The cage money should be spent on education. It's stupid and will not prevent one single person from smoking pot. BIG FAIL

Zach Carsel
Zach Carsel

What is racist is the lack of diversity in Boulder. It is the soft racism of price exclusion, but it is definitely racist. They need some more low income housing in Boulder.

wlj256
wlj256

I would like to comment that this is important to note the lab rat campaign was conceived rapidly without any real thought or input.  The money being generated from the cannabis industry has created a bizzare feeding frenzy to pay every friend of an elected official that has a media or consulting company.  By what standard was Sukle given this contract? What the basis of this campaign?  Teen use is down and falling by more than any "campaign" could champion. Sulk himself stated there are no measurable outcomes to this campaign.  A $2 million campaign with no measurable goals? Strike 1. 


Where are the voices of people of color?  Sukle stated in a conversation in the Marijuana Directors office, they saw no need to speak to people of color, because in their mind, this had nothing to do with them.  Really?  Shocking?  Given that black and brown people are arrested at alarming rates, imagine my shock to hear them say that to me? Strike 2.


They also saw no reason to speak to the parents of children and babies being treated for epilepsy.  Maybe those parents would find the term "lab Rat" insulting? Strike 3.


Keep the pressure on.  This will change.


Wanda James



Tai Kahn
Tai Kahn

Put a cage in front of his bar against drinking and driving on the sidewalk with city money.

Tai Kahn
Tai Kahn

^^^ EXACTLY -- HEY Denver Westword HERE IS YOUR STORY. Tax money being wasted on "psuedo-science-guilt-marketing" when youth pot smoking (especially in this state) is at the lowest levels ever... kids think pots for old dirty hippies and hipsters. The use is continuing to drop, even through the legalization(s). I can imagine several million things this money could have been better applied to. Maybe you could try reporting on a real story like this.

Winston Smith
Winston Smith

We need to use these cages for a "I'm not a lab rat" demonstration to bring awareness to genetically modified organisms in food. #LabelGMOs!

muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

They have to do something with all those private prison cages that are now sitting empty, no longer making money for the corrupt.

Clara Madrid
Clara Madrid

$2 million wasted on those cages? Now I'm pissed.

Clara Madrid
Clara Madrid

I agree, the cages are absolutely ridiculous and implying that mj leads to incarceration, has nothing to do with mice. Very offensive campaign. They should have put that money into education or infrastucture - that is what we voted for them to do with marijuana revenue - MAKE IMPROVEMENTS not waste the money on stupid shit.

Jason S. Buzzalini
Jason S. Buzzalini

They should find out how many people have been busted for driving drunk after visiting one of Hickenloopers breweries and how many people have been killed by people who got drunk at his breweries!

Amber Rae
Amber Rae

It's plain disrespectful.... Everyone is opinionated as adults, but there comes a point when your opinion is just flat out disrespect.

Shawn Coleman
Shawn Coleman

Because I am black I am a terrible messenger. The reason is because I am also a human being and like a person i sometimes get offended. Like any other person sometimes I even get angry, unlike like most lobbyist however I am black and I'm not allowed to speak when I'm angry because you know ... angry black man. That I ALWAYS have to think before I speak is not "racist" it is what it is .... for someone that understands that dynamic however, it should make it more clear to them that I (not the movement, not my colleagues but me specifically) would have not used the word. Unfortunately for the message, I was the messenger at hand.

Shawn Coleman
Shawn Coleman

The point of the article is not "New concept" these cages are racist. The article is actually about "why do people already think they are". The reason as clearly stated is that those who work in social justice and drug policy reform understand the general racist application of the drug war and jail cell size cage is a stark reminder. You can't see the signs driving by or across the street but you can definitely see the jail cell.

Shawn Coleman
Shawn Coleman

You mean like a black guy having a totally reasoned argument that no one heard because he sounded so angry? You mean that kind of not racist? Just because you don't get the analogy of human sized cages and jail cells primarily populated with black and born people for drug offenses, then perhaps like the Governor you don't work in social justice and drug policy reform and therefore don't see the reference. Fine, but I do and I do so I call them as I see them and this is racist and many people in education including the Boulder Valley School Distrtict

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Stupid stoners, always want to change the subject to alcohol when the issue is MARIJUANA.



michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

Nice use of resources, Winston. Thanks for posting.

GuestWho
GuestWho topcommenter
michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

The money went to more than just cages, but the campaign wasn't cheap. Thanks for posting, Clara.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Clara Madrid "I agree, the cages are absolutely ridiculous and implying that mj leads to incarceration,"


Catch a clue, honey -- Marijuana DOES lead to PRISON. As Robert Chase accurately says, marijuana remains 5 kinds of FELONY in Colorado, including a CLASS 1 FELONY equivalent to MURDER or RAPE!


Even though NO PRISON in Colorado has inmate cells that look anything like those giant rat cages, the implication and association of Pot and Prison is ENTIRELY ACCURATE.


Don't be a Lab Rat & Don't be a Pot Prisoner !!


.


RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

You had no idea what you were voting for when you voted for Proposition AA, nor did most.  If you have any interest in learning how the money is to be spent, read SB14-215 on the Colorado General Assembly's website.

muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

Putting the shoe on the other foot shines the light of truth on hypocrisy. 

GuestWho
GuestWho topcommenter

@BeardedLadyPastika  


Do you kiss your boyfriend with that filthy mouth?

GuestWho
GuestWho topcommenter

@shawncoleman     To me it doesn't matter if you are black, white, brown, purple, male, female, hermaphrodite, or whatever making this argument...I agree that the cage is similar to a jail and that minorities are incarcerated at a higher rate but I think it's a stretch to call the lab rat campaign racist.  Men are an overwhelming majority of the prison population...that doesn't make this campaign misandrist in my opinion.  Construing the campaign as sexist or racist just causes more divide and doesn't make sense imo.  

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Shawn Coleman You mad, bro?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Shawn Coleman ... sad fact of life -- The U$A is Racist, was FOUNDED upon racism, and racism is institutional and systemic in all aspects of American culture, politics and law.


Angry Black Man sees racism, bigotry and hate everywhere ... because it is.



DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Amendment 64 is racist, and YOU supported, promoted and voted for it.



DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@michael.roberts ... they'd make excellent outdoor GROW cages for monster plants complete with branch supports and a water/nutrient feeding bottle 


... and they meet the legal requirements -- enclosed on all sides, locked, etc.


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@fishingblues ... figures a lowlife bigoted racist piece of shit like you would refer to a black man as a black pot/kettle.



fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay @fishingblues


Only in your narrow-minded imagination.  Perhaps you should read the post again.  Or do you think all pots/kettles are black?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@fishingblues <== too fucking stupid to know the adage from whence he alludes.


" I have plenty shit for brains " 

-- fishyblueballs


Lololol.

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay @fishingblues


Stinky appears to now be laughing out loud with an echo.  What a pathetic little tool you are.  Are you ready to cry "UNCLE"?


Seriously stinky, how old are you?  Are you still in Jr high?  

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