CONTROVERSIAL POT BILLBOARD GOES UP
Colorado -- Backers of a Denver marijuana legalization ballot measure unveiled a billboard today proclaiming "Alcohol use makes domestic violence
8 times more likely...Marijuana use does not."
The text-only advertisement on Federal Boulevard near Invesco Field at Mile High debuted just days after Initiative 100 supporters scrapped plans for a controversial billboard bearing the emotionally charged image of a battered woman and her abuser with the slogan: "Reduce family and community violence in Denver. Vote Yes on I-100."
Nowhere did the billboard mention marijuana or that the measure's passage would amend Denver law to make it legal for adults to possess 1 ounce or less of the drug.
Political leaders and domestic violence advocates condemned the ads for misleading voters and exploiting the tragedy of abused women. Anti-violence advocates said while alcohol use may compound abuse by someone predisposed to domestic violence, drinking does not make someone a batterer.
"We do not back down from the message conveyed in (the cancelled) billboard, but we do understand that it has offended and upset a number of folks," Mason Tvert, head of the I-100 sponsor, Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation, said a noon news conference under the billboard at Federal and 20th Avenue. "We have decided to change it so that it is less graphic and more detailed in conveying our message that if adults are allowed to use marijuana instead of alcohol we might be able to avert a number of alcohol-related crimes that occur in this city."
The new billboard's message, underscoring the increased likelihood of abuse with alcohol in red, is based on a 2003 study by addiction researchers at the State University of New York at Buffalo.
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