The billboard, produced by the Marijuana Policy Project, warns Denver tourists, ‘Don’t let a candy bar ruin your vacation;’ first-of-its-kind public education campaign will also feature print ads, online ads, and materials in marijuana retail stores

* Billboard images at *

DENVER — On Wednesday, the nation’s largest marijuana policy organization launched the first-ever comprehensive public education campaign urging adults to “consume responsibly” in states where marijuana is legal. The campaign was launched in Colorado and will be exported to Washington and then other states as they adopt similar laws.

The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) kicked off the campaign with a news conference in front of its first paid ad, a billboard at 816 Federal Blvd. in Denver that warns tourists, “Don’t let a candy bar ruin your vacation.” It also encourages them to start with a low dose of THC and go slow when consuming edible marijuana products, which can take up to two hours to feel the effect. The billboard features a distressed woman in a dark hotel room, alluding to New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd’s now-infamous June column detailing her over-consumption of a marijuana-infused candy bar in her Denver hotel room.

The billboard directs people to the campaign’s website — — which features detailed information about marijuana products, their effects, and the laws surrounding them. It also addresses issues such as preventing and responding to over-consumption and accidental consumption. The Consume Responsibly campaign will initially include print and online ads, as well as materials in retail marijuana stores.

“For decades, efforts to educate people about marijuana have been led by government agencies and organizations that want to maintain marijuana prohibition,” said Mason Tvert, MPP director of communications. “Their campaigns have been characterized by fear mongering, misinformation, and derision, and they have not made anyone safer. Like most Americans, Ms. Dowd has probably seen countless silly anti-marijuana ads on TV, but she never saw one that highlights the need to ‘start low and go slow’ when consuming marijuana edibles.

“Now that marijuana is a legal product like alcohol in some states — and on its way to becoming legal in others — it needs to be treated that way,” Tvert said. “That’s where the Consume Responsibly campaign comes in.”

MPP, which was the largest backer of the 2012 ballot initiative that made marijuana legal for adults in Colorado, developed the campaign with the support of Medbox, Inc., a prominent member of the marijuana business community.

“Honest and effective marijuana education is long overdue,” said Vince Mehdizadeh, founder and senior strategist at Medbox, Inc. “We are proud to support this historic campaign and hope other businesses and organizations will join us in spreading its important message.”

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