The Marijuana Policy Project of Maine has sparked some controversy over the Reefer Madness themed, pro-marijuana message depicted on a mobile billboard that will be driving around Lewiston through the end of the week.
The ad reads “Marijuana: Less toxic! Less addictive! Less scary than alcohol! Vote yes on Question 2!” It is targeting registered voters in the city of Lewiston who will have the opportunity to vote to legalize possession of up to one ounce of marijuana for adults, aged twenty-one and older, on election day. This is only a city-wide referendum that does not alter state law.
The billboard caused controversy for the volunteer director of Maine Smart Approaches to Marijuana, Scott Ganon. He reported to WCHS 6 that he thinks the Reefer Madness themed billboard looks like a joke, and does not take it seriously. Ganon is worried that the public may not trust the Marijuana Policy Project to responsibly draft regulations for legal marijuana legislation after taking a humorous approach with this billboard, which mocks the fear mongering movie released in cahoots with marijuana prohibition during the late 1930s.
David Boyer, Marijuana Policy Project assured WCHS 6 that the organization just aims to educate voters and draw attention to the fact that marijuana is no more harmful than alcohol, and therefore should be legalized and regulated similarly. During the interview, Boyer pointed out,
“Having responsible education about that [marijuana] and making sure people are safe while they do it, is the better alternative to scaring people into not doing it. Because that doesn’t work.”
They expect this approach to encourage residents of Lewiston to exercise the right to vote. A similar referendum is on the ballot fifty-five miles away, in South Portland, and one was approved by voters on election day in Portland last year.
David Boyer is the same Marijuana Policy Project team member who challenged the chief of the South Portland Police Department to a hit for shot, weed vs. booze challenge, earlier this month to prove that marijuana is safer than alcohol.
Photo credit: WCHS6