Attention-grabbing weed billboards up in Massachusetts, Connecticut

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – “Weed is legal in 60 miles.” That’s what one billboard in Connecticut is advertising to drivers traveling north toward Massachusetts.

About a mile further up the highway, another billboard reads, “Addiction treatment is closer.”

The ad war is between the California-based company Weedmaps, which helps people find pot dispensaries, and Turnbridge, a nationally-recognized addiction treatment provider based out of New Haven.

“One side effect of marijuana legalization is that young people are getting mixed messages,” said Diana Clark, a Turnbridge outreach specialist. “On the one hand, they hear that marijuana is not harmful and may even yield medical benefits. On the other hand, they find that marijuana can intensify their anxiety or depression, that they lose interest in life goals they once considered important, and that they are unable to stop using marijuana despite their attempts to do so.”

For some Connecticut residents, legal weed is much closer than 60 miles, and there is no way to entirely prevent customers from bringing the drug back over state lines.

“We do see a large number of Connecticut residents at INSA Easthampton and we remind them that the law states it is illegal to purchase product and then cross the border back into Connecticut with the product,” INSA spokesperson Mark Zatyrka said. “Out of state visitors need to find a safe place to consume the product in MA prior to traveling back home.”

Zatyrka said out of respect for other states’ laws, INSA does not advertise or encourage out of state residents to come to Massachusetts for recreational marijuana.

At Hampshire County’s other recreational marijuana dispensary NETA, spokesperson Peter Brown said they check customers’ IDs prior to purchase, but they don’t keep track of out of state customers.

Weedmaps, the same company advertising in Connecticut, also has billboards around western Massachusetts. In Springfield, for example, a sign off I-291 reads, “Smile, Springfield. Weed is legal.”

We asked viewers on Twitter and Facebook what they thought of the billboards:

Weedmaps spokesperson Carl Fillichio said they encourage and advocate for responsible consumption of legal, adult use cannabis.

“Our site includes a “learn” platform, which provides comprehensive and easy to understand information about cannabis use for both novice and connoisseur consumers,” Fillichio said.

Let us know what you think and your comment could be featured on air! Tweet me at @MonicaWWLP or comment on the Facebook post.

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