More Lies About Driving on Weed: New Zealand Edition


Silly screenshot from cannabis driving sim shows Heisenberg behind the wheel when you fail (Spoiler Alert: everyone fails)

The amazing landscapes of New Zealand can take you from skiing down pristine slopes in the morning, to relaxing on a white sand beach in the afternoon – just don’t get caught smoking a joint while you’re at it.
In New Zealand, the Misuse of Drugs Act of 1975 made it officially illegal to import, grow, sell, distribute, possess and/or use cannabis in any way, shape, or form. But with more than 4 million residents, and 13.4% of them smoking weed despite the law, the government there is realizing that their decades of patronizing anti-weed fear mongering may be somewhat ineffective.
So their latest idea is…more patronizing anti-weed fear mongering.

The New Zealand Drug Foundation has unveiled its most recent regurgitation of government funding (i.e. taxpayer dollars) in the form of a new “driving simulator” they have dubbed as Steer Clear.
The Steer Clear program is aimed at the same 16-24 year old demographic that dominates the 56,000+ New Zealand residents who admit to smoking weed. Those behind the program hope to use today’s technology and streetwise slang to get out their tired recycled message – driving on weed is bad, mmkay?
Executive Director of the New Zealand Drug Foundation, a man named Ross Bell, is a man on a well-funded mission.
His double-speak in the following quote is indicative of his foundation’s entire mission statement. “Lots of people don’t think cannabis affects how they drive. But the evidence shows drug impaired drivers are a risk to themselves and others,” says Bell.
Are we talking about cannabis “impaired” drivers, or “drug impaired drivers”? It is a careful choice of wordplay that Bell uses repeatedly in his press releases.
This week in Wellington, New Zealand, down on the waterfront, passers-by will notice a propaganda-smeared Honda van that they will be invited to have a seat inside.
Once in the driver’s seat, a shitstorm of lies and reefer madness is presented in the form of focus-grouped slang that its creators somehow think is “non-patronizing”.
Then the user gets to experience the Steer Clear driving simulator (aka the worst video game you ever played), which is intended to show what it is apparently like to drive after ingesting cannabis.
If you’re not convinced, and you think that you have played a worse video game; or if you don’t plan to be in Wellington, New Zealand this week; or if you are just super bored and need a good laugh, you too can take the Steer Clear driving simulator from the comfort of your computer, with bong in hand if you so choose.
Warning: anyone with severe epilepsy should probably avoid their stupid “simulator”.
Also, the age group this is allegedly aimed at might groan at the juvenile cartoonish effects.
Bell and his minions at the New Zealand Drug Foundation like to boast that their cheeseball videos have racked up “over 70,000” YouTube views. For the record, this video titled “The most boring YouTube Video……..Ever”, literally of paint drying on cardboard, currently has over 130,000 views.
Their social media campaign brings all of the weed science of the roaring 1920’s right into present day technology with absurd tweets like:

If the evidence is so “clear”, despite the overwhelming amount of studies that contradict the Steer Clear program, they shouldn’t need to try to appeal to anyone other than truth seekers.
The truth is, there are much more harmful drugs than cannabis, whether you are behind the wheel, or on the couch. The danger in presenting propaganda in this way is that teenagers try this simulator, and see the shifting screen and ridiculous fading signs and hallucinations.
Then if they do try weed, and there are no wavy lines and stop-motion-STOP-signs, they figure that if their government and their schools lied to them about marijuana and its effects, then maybe drinking and driving isn’t so bad either. Or maybe the more harmful drugs that Ross Bell likes to bait the discussion with become more attractive to New Zealand’s youth.
Prohibition of pot is just as backwards in New Zealand as it is in America, and just like here, the anti-weed establishment down under better be careful what they wish for when they ask their country’s youth to pay attention to the facts, stats, and science surrounding cannabis.