How the giant "Don't Be a Lab Rat" installations will look once implemented. (Office of Governor John W. Hickenlooper)

“Lab Rat” cage gets noticed at Denver skate park — and vandalized

Well, that didn’t take long.

The state of Colorado debuted its “Don’t Be a Lab Rat” youth campaign on Monday, Aug. 11, by dropping human-sized laboratory cages around the Denver area, including outside the Denver Public Library and the downtown skate park.

Vandalized signs at the skate park installation were reported Monday evening by CBS4.

The cages feature posters that cite controversial marijuana research studies and ask open-ended questions about youth pot use. Someone cleverly crossed out a reference to “negative effects” of marijuana and changed it to “positive.” Another message left on the poster says cryptically, “Smoking weed saved my life.”

Editorial: “Lab Rat” campaign gets points for honesty, but cages a bit much

The campaign — which targets teens with messages that marijuana research is ongoing, particularly in studies on the developing brain — is trying a different tact from the “Just say no” anti-drug campaigns of yore.

There are a few variations of the posters that adorn the giant cages, so a new message is sure to replace the vandalized signs.

The vandalism was taken in stride by Dr. Larry Wolk, who heads the state health department.

“If they are defacing it or they’re doing something with regard to graffiti or gathering in the cages, at least they are taking notice … and let the debate occur,” Wolk told CBS4.

There also was a man who toked up inside the cage at the skate park, according to the TV report.

The $2 million project, which includes a stylized website, is funded by a grant paid by legal settlements with various pharmaceutical companies, according to the governor’s office. Another component of the “Don’t Be a Lab Rat” campaign are TV ads, as seen below.

Colorado’s “Lab Rat” Experiment:
A special report from The Cannabist

The creative force behind the “Lab Rat” campaign talks: Advertisements hope to test new message to prevent teen weed use

Couric and Hickenlooper on video: When Gov. John Hickenlooper and broadcaster Katie Couric got together for a conversation titled “The Dope on Pot,” what exactly did they talk about — besides Hick spilling the beans on the “Don’t Be a Lab Rat” campaign? Watch the video

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