Photo: Pro-marijuana billboard erected near Mile High stadium, liquor store

The woman seen here looks like a highly polished business owner, perhaps, or maybe a suburban soccer mom.

But as portrayed on a billboard being formally unveiled today at a high-profile location near the Denver Broncos' home, Sports Authority Field at Mile High (see it below), she's also a fan of ganja. "For many reasons, I prefer marijuana over alcohol," the billboard reads. "Does that make me a bad person?"

Absolutely not, responds Mason Tvert, a proponent of Amendment 64, the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, whose campaign funded the billboard.

As you can see, the billboard makes no mention of Amendment 64. But Tvert still sees the placard as advancing the push for the measure.

"Its purpose is to get people in Colorado thinking about the fact that many adults enjoy using marijuana for the same reasons they enjoy using alcohol," he says. "And seeing as it's a far less harmful substance than alcohol, they shouldn't be punished for using it. So the billboard isn't to tell people what to think, but to get them to think."

Tvert reports no resistence from the billboard company to the message: "It was approved more or less immediately, without any questions." And he sees its location as amplifying the concept in ways that go beyond its placement in the shadow of Colorado's best-known stadium.

"It's hanging directly over a liquor store," Tvert points out. "There's a very large Bud Lite sign right below it and another liquor store two doors down."

Here's a shot by Kim Sidwell of the billboard in its native environment.

This juxtaposition "should get people thinking and making that comparison -- asking themselves why it's okay for there to be liquor stores but it's a problem for someone like the woman on the billboard to use marijuana responsibly when she could otherwise be drinking," Tvert believes.

The billboard's official unveiling will take place at 1:30 p.m. today at 1660 Federal Boulevard. Campaign staffers wearing campaign T-shirts in Denver Broncos orange will be on hand to reinforce the connection between the billboard and Amendment 64. Even so, Tvert stresses that "our goal is simply to encourage people to consider the facts -- and once they do, they'll realize that people like this woman aren't bad people because they use marijuana, and shouldn't be made into criminals."

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More from our Marijuana archive: "Pat Robertson 'endorses' Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, Amendment 64."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts