WARRINGTON Borough Council has apologised for the misleading drugs awareness campaign "It's Not Just a Joint" which suggested cannabis was stronger than heroin.
Funds for campaign, which had cost £1,500 prior to being withdrawn following a storm of protest, have now been diverted to a mental health awareness campaign, already scheduled for the summer.
A council spokesperson said: “The council apologises to anybody who may feel that they were misled. The campaign has been postponed pending a review of some of the statistical data which supported the campaign.
"The total campaign cost to date is £1,500. Thanks to swift action by the council’s marketing manager, advertising space intended for the cannabis campaign was reallocated to the “Happy, Okay, Sad” campaign, which is a campaign on mental health which had already been planned to run this summer.”
The council had been left red faced and hastily withdrew the drugs awareness campaign after Norml UK, a group working to reform cannabis laws, labelled the claims as being ‘irresponsible and dangerous’.
The ‘It’s Not Just a Joint’ initiative was launched last week via the council's own electronic newsletter - "The Wire" and sparked outrage from pro-cannabis campaigners who accused the council of suggesting heroin was a safer alternative to cannabis.
Hundreds of people had commented on the council’s Facebook page forcing the council to close the page.
The council’s class B drug awareness initiative included the comment: “Did you know that cannabis can be stronger than heroin and cannabis related crime is now the most common drug related crime in Warrington?”
The “It’s not just a joint” campaign was due to run throughout July, August and September in Warrington, with adverts on buses and bus shelters in various locations around the town, and promotion via social media.
Pro-cannabis campaigners plan to stage a protest outside the town hall on Friday.