Skip navigation

Youth Marijuana Education Campaign Proves Effective: New Survey Shows Denver’s Education Campaign Influences Decision Making


March 19, 2019 - DENVER – A little more than one year since Denver launched the High Costs marijuana youth education and prevention campaign, a new survey is showing Denver’s unique approach is paying dividends. According to the survey released today, 75 percent of teens aware of the High Costs campaign said that its messaging discouraged them from using marijuana.

The High Costs campaign is an effort by the City and County of Denver, managed by the Department of Excise and Licenses, to educate Denver’s youth on how underage marijuana use can affect their passions, pursuits and future. Instead of promoting scare tactics, Denver’s campaign focuses on providing facts for teens so they have accurate peer-to-peer conversations.

Among the results of the survey conducted by Insights Lab, which ran from mid-November through mid-December 2018, and polled 502 teens representative of Denver’s youth population, were a few other key statistics of note:

  • Awareness of the High Costs campaign is high, with 78 percent of teens indicating that they were familiar with the campaign, either through top of mind awareness or after being shown components of the campaign.
  • 68 percent of survey respondents were aware of the “Weeded Out” game show video – the country’s first marijuana education game show - that served as the centerpiece of the 2018 campaign.
  •  Among teens who viewed the game show, 87 percent talked about it with either friends, family, or both.
  • The majority of teens agreed that High Costs has a clear message (83 percent), is educational (83 percent), trustworthy (75 percent), and likeable (73 percent).

“Teens want facts and they want to be able to make their own decisions. When we give teens the facts and equip them with knowledge, they make smarter choices about using marijuana,” said Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock.

The campaign is delivered to Denver youth where they are at on multiple platforms, including digital radio, school bus signage, social media and via mobile gaming apps and digital video platforms. High Costs is also continuing distribution of the ‘classroom-in-a-box’ trivia card game based on the ‘Weeded Out’ game show.

Find the campaign at For additional findings please visit to access the full survey data.


In November 2013, City and County of Denver voters approved a special sales tax on retail marijuana to support the city's marijuana regulation, enforcement and education efforts. The City of Denver initiated in 2017 a creative campaign to educate its youth in a creative, effective and positive manner about marijuana. On year 2, High Costs uses “In Other Words” to give life to statistics and facts in a way that makes them more tangible to this audience. The city employs a multi-prong approach to education and prevention efforts, and this campaign is one part of that overall mission to decrease use among Denver’s youth. The High Costs campaign is based in research gathered in part from the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey (HKCS), the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC). The campaign also receives information from the target audience through a city-organized youth commission, yearly surveys, focus groups, and feedback.

About Insights Lab with the Tell Panel:

Insights Lab is a consumer insights consultancy providing research and data science services to help business, organizations and causes win more customers and turn data into a working asset. The Tell Consumer Panel, a proprietary online panel powered by the Colorado community, has provided hyper-local consumer insights for various Colorado businesses and non-profit organizations.

# # #