Welcome to the Shroomery Message Board! You are experiencing a small sample of what the site has to offer. Please login or register to post messages and view our exclusive members-only content. You'll gain access to additional forums, file attachments, board customizations, encrypted private messages, and much more!
Ads' marijuana imagery bothers some residents September 30, 2005 - wisinfo.com
Billboards pulled; lawyer says his signs don't promote drug use
WAUSAU - A billboard company with advertisements for a law office that feature a marijuana leaf will pull the ads today after the images irked several residents and community officials in Weston.
"I think to drive down Schofield Avenue in the village of Weston, a community that prides itself on being safe and drug free, it's a little daunting to see that big marijuana leaf staring back at you," Weston Village Administrator Dean Zuleger said. Three billboards along Schofield Avenue for the Linehan Law Office show a large marijuana leaf with "420" on it. At the bottom, the billboard reads "Use of a controlled substance can restrict your liberties." About 10 to 15 residents have called Zuleger to complain in the two weeks the billboards have been up.
"The public opinion in Weston is that the billboard glorifies the use of marijuana," Zuleger said. "Police officers are trying to combat drug use and feel it's counterproductive." After speaking with Zuleger on Thursday about the complaints, Bill Mitchell of Lamar Advertising said he decided to remove the ads.
"I decided that it wasn't good for the community," said Mitchell, general manager of Lamar Advertising in Marshfield.
Another official who thought the billboards should come down was Everest Metro Police Chief Dan Vergin.
"It looks like Linehan Law Office is promoting the use of drugs," he said.
The number 420 has been part of the marijuana culture since the 1970s. The reference has been interpreted in several ways, from 4:20 p.m. being the best time of day to take a hit to April 20 as the time to plant before summer.
People facing marijuana charges have mentioned hiring the attorney because of the billboards, drug investigators say. And since the billboards have been up, defense attorney Gene Linehan says his business has increased.
"All it says is, if you get arrested for pot, come see me," he said.
The line at the bottom is a good message, Linehan said.
Some communities have successfully added to zoning code language to allow a municipality to ban a company from putting an ad in public if an outdoor advertisement is not in the interest of public health and safety, Zuleger said.
Donald Downs, a First Amendment expert at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said the Linehan billboard likely is protected speech because it is not false or misleading. People don't have the right to advertise for illegal activities, but the billboard doesn't seem to fall into that category, he said.
Lamar called Linehan on Thursday to tell him the billboards for his office were coming down because the community objected to them.