NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The big game may be Sunday, but another battle is brewing with highway billboards. The first offensive move was made by the Marijuana Policy Project when the pro pot group installed a series of billboards highlighting the safety of marijuana. The group specifically challenged the NFL's punishment of pot smoking vs. the approval of alcohol.
Smart Approaches to Marijuana an anti-marijuana group went on the defense with their own billboards. The group is led by Patrick Kennedy and the billboard says Marijuana Kills Your Drive. The pushback didn't go over so well with the MPP folks.
Their next play was to put up two more billboards in response, spoofing SAM's original billboard. Patrick Kennedy is a former U.S. Representative of Rhode Island and son of former Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy. He is a recovering alcoholic and he co-founded SAM last year with Dr. Kevin Sabet, whom Salon magazine named the "quarterback of the new anti-drug movement" and David Frum a conservative Republican who was a former speechwriter for President Bush.
Kennedy has been quoting as saying, "I agree with the president, alcohol is more dangerous than marijuana." However, Kennedy also stated that marijuana leads to mental illness. The billboards for SAM are funded by Policy Solutions Group, a consulting company run by Dr. Sabet.
SAM seems to be mostly focused on keeping marijuana away from kids, not necessarily adults. The billboards do seem to be directed at teens rather than adults. However, MPP gets very defensive towards any negative commentary on cannabis.
Either way the tit for tat is good business for billboard owners.
-- Written by Debra Borchardt in New York