October 3, 2013

Portland buses to display marijuana ads despite objections

The ads promoting marijuana as safer than alcohol have upset the people trying to prevent kids from smoking pot.

By Randy Billings rbillings@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

Today's poll: Marijuana ads

Should ads promoting the legalization of recreational marijuana be pulled from METRO buses?

Yes

No

View Results

click image to enlarge

David Boyer of the Marijuana Policy Project speaks with the press near a bus shelter on Park Street in Portland that displays one of the ads in support of an initiative to remove penalties for marijuana possession.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette / Staff Photographer

click image to enlarge

An ad placed in a bus shelter on Park Street Wednesday supports an initiative to remove penalties for marijuana possession in Portland.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette / Staff Photographer

Anti-drug abuse advocates including 21 Reasons say the ads could increase drug use among teenagers by reducing the perceived risk. They cite evidence that marijuana use poses various health threats to developing adolescents.

Marijuana is illegal under federal law, but Maine is one of 20 states that have legalized use of medicinal marijuana.

In the two years after changes were made to the medical marijuana program, in 2009, Portland high school students’ perception of the risk of smoking marijuana dropped, according to 21 Reasons.

In 2009, 60 percent of the students surveyed said they saw a risk of harming themselves by smoking marijuana regularly. In 2011, only 52 percent of the students surveyed said it was harmful.

“Maine high school students who think there is little risk from smoking marijuana are 5.3 times as likely to use it,” the group said.

Bonny Rodden, president of Metro’s board of directors, said Tuesday that she was unaware of the content of the ads and was considering asking the board to take a closer at their appropriateness.

On Wednesday, Rodden, who is also a town councilor in Falmouth, said she will not make a request and she is comfortable with the advertising policy.

“I understand (21 Reasons’) concerns, but I think the debate is out in the political forum, not over whether we should run the ads,” Rodden said.

Randy Billings can be contacted at 791-6346 or at:

rbillings@pressherald.com

Twitter: @randybillings

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors




Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)


Today's poll: Marijuana ads

Should ads promoting the legalization of recreational marijuana be pulled from METRO buses?

Yes

No

View Results