First NORML put one up in Florida, now RegulateMarijuana.com has one for Colorado; perhaps billboards can win the war against marijuana prohibition? No, probably not without some help. Nevertheless, Raw Story has the scoop on a shiny new $5,000 billboard, prominently placed near Denver's Mile High Stadium.
The group's official name is the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol and as Jacob Sullum has previously noted, it has thrown its support behind a ballot initiative to fully legalize marijuana in 2012. Colorado has had legalized medical marijuana since 2001, but that doesn't stop the state from staging the occasional SWAT raid on legal users just in case they're using slightly more weed than is allowed.
This organization's name kind of makes me twitch, if only because I have an aversion to overtly advocating for regulation. But regulation would of course be a damn sight better than illegality. And look! Look at the normal-looking lady! She's probably someone's mom or something!
"That's what we want to talk to Coloradans right now," Betty Aldworth, advocacy director for the campaign, told Raw Story on Friday. "We're trying to educate them about why it is that marijuana is safer than alcohol. If you look at every objective study comparing the safety of the two, you'll see that marijuana is clearly safer than alcohol."
Not only is the billboard near Mile High Stadium, it's also right next to Mile High Liquors. The group said on its website that the location was optimal because it will force some drinkers to confront their bias toward marijuana users. It was also a good deal, too: the campaign told Raw Story that their sign only cost $5,000.
Their claims aren't just a clever pitch for the drug, either: Marijuana has in fact been shown to be less addictive than alcohol, and its more enthusiastic users tend to exhibit fewer adverse health effects than alcoholics. It is also impossible to overdose on marijuana, which its adherents see as an advantage over the relative ease of alcohol poisoning.
That's the message the campaign is trying to bring to Coloradans, and Aldworth explained that they've only just begun. "We're asking volunteers to talk to their neighbors, their family members — and particularly aunts, uncles, parents and grandparents, people in the next two generations up," she said. "Young people, for the most part, get it, they've seen their friends use marijuana and alcohol, and how they affect people. They understand… There is no logical reason to punish people for marijuana."
Young people definitely do support legalization at a much higher rate than senior citizens. And though the the Florida NORML campaign linked to above actually involved trying to change elderly minds about the devil weed, the children may be, in the cause of anti-prohibition, the future.
As for Rocky Mountain high, commentators, including the Raw Story editor, seem to think that Colorado's 2012 legalization chances are pretty good. But Jacob Sullum has previously reported on the trials and tribulations and general confusion of state legalization and licensing of medical marijuana in Colorado in a post-Gonzales vs. Raich era. And particularly under Obama's Department of Justice, it seems like state legalization doesn't matter much at all.
Hat tip to commenter jasno
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