Portland, Ore. – Following a grassroots, online protest by volunteers with Women for Measure 80, advertising company Clear Channel Outdoor has agreed to take down a series of shameful, misleading and fear-mongering billboards around Portland.
At a press conference this morning, Women for Measure 80 coordinator Amanda Rain joined Oregonians for Law Reform and other sensible marijuana-policy advocates to condemn the advertisements, denounce the backers’ scare tactics and call for smart marijuana policies that would effectively protect Oregon’s communities and young people.
Women for Measure 80 is holding a rally on Monday, Oct. 15 on the steps of the State Capitol in Salem to call for an end to marijuana prohibition.
“Since the earliest days of ‘reefer madness’, Americans have been misled by shameful, baseless propaganda that has fueled the failed war on marijuana, and this ad campaign is as bad as anything we’ve seen,” Rain said. “If we really want to protect our kids, we need to take marijuana out of the hands of street dealers and regulate marijuana like we do alcohol. Prohibition hasn’t worked, but an effective regulation and education approach like Measure 80 will work.”
The website listed on the to-be-removed billboards links to Protect Our Society, a group with ties to Save our Society From Drugs and the Drug Free America Foundation. Both of these organizations were founded by Florida ultra-conservatives Mel and Betty Sembler after their first non-profit, Straight Inc., was accused of running what amounted to “torture” centers.
According to a statement issued by Clear Channel Outdoor’s vice president of public affairs Dan Dhruva, “The ads protesting marijuana are being removed because our policy is transparency of advertising campaigns and the advertisers who are sponsoring them. These ads include a misleading website that we believe needed to honestly represent the advertiser so the ads are being removed.”
Measure 80 would replace Oregon’s failed system of marijuana prohibition with an effective taxation-and-regulation model that would allow adults 21 and older to purchase cannabis at state-licensed stores only. Ninety percent of tax revenues would go to the state’s general fund for schools and social services. Seven percent would go to drug-treatment programs and one percent would go toward effective drug education.
“It blows my mind that the prohibitionists over at Protect Our Society think Oregonians would buy into this shameful propaganda,” said Sam Chapman of Oregonians for Law Reform.
To learn more about Oregon Measure 80, visit www.vote80.org.