OTTAWA - Ahead of its July deadline for legalizing recreational marijuana use in Canada, the federal government has launched a campaign warning of the risks of drug-impaired driving.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale is unveiling a series of advertisements today that will air on TV, radio, online and in movie theatres.

Others will appear on billboards and in other public spaces.

The public service video ads depict a group of young people, laughing and talking after smoking drugs, who get into a devastating auto accident.

Goodale says recent public opinion research suggests that half of young people aged 16 to 24 believe that driving while under the influence of cannabis is more socially acceptable than getting behind the wheel while drunk.

The group MADD Canada, which has been running its own ads for months, says people, particularly youth, need to know the real dangers of driving while on drugs.