February 6, 2019

Legal weed ad campaign sparks billboard war

PHOTO | Contributed
PHOTO | Contributed
Competing billboards about marijuana greet motorists on I-91 in New Haven.

A legal cannabis industry website created a buzz last month with a controversial Interstate-91 billboard directing motorists to legal marijuana across the Massachusetts border.

Now, a New Haven mental-health provider, Turnbridge, is responding with its own ad campaign — erecting a billboard about a mile away informing drivers where they can go for addiction treatment.

"Turnbridge hopes that drivers will make the connection between the availability of marijuana and the availability of effective treatment if marijuana use becomes problematic," the company said in announcing the campaign Wednesday.

Weedmaps, a California-based website that helps people find recreational and marijuana dispensaries and order marijuana online, made headlines with a billboard in New Haven declaring "Weed Is Legal in 60 Miles."

Turnbridge's billboard responds: "Addiction Treatment Is Closer."

The original billboard was referencing the recent opening of an adult-use cannabis store in Northampton, Mass., where recreational pot is legal.

Turnbridge, which has been providing addiction-treatment services in New Haven for 15 years, said treating marijuana-use disorder is common in its program and it saw the ad campaign as an opportunity to raise awareness.

"People are now exposed to a lot of questionable information about marijuana and its asserted benefits," said Turnbridge outreach specialist Diana Clark. "As health-care providers on the front lines of the addiction crisis, we observe how marijuana use can lead to negative consequences and — in some cases — marijuana addiction."

Contact Natalie Missakian at news@newhavenbiz.com

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