Group Rallies Against Marijuana Billboard on I-91 in North Haven

On Saturday, people against a new the sign on Interstate 91 in North Haven advertising a weed dispensary in Massachusetts rallied for it to be taken down immediately.

The billboard reads “Weed is legal 60 miles away” and is sponsored by a California-based app called Weedmaps. The app helps its users find pot dispensaries.

Ken Welch of the Coalition for a Better Wallingford and others involved in community drug prevention efforts gathered in front of Outfront Media, the outdoor media company that put up the billboard in North Haven.

“I think putting a sign up is just wrong. You know, you’re enticing people to go to a neighboring state and buy marijuana, which is illegal here, and bring it back,” said Welch. “We don’t do it anywhere else. Why are we allowing it for marijuana?”

Just a mile north of the Weedmaps billboard, another one reads “Treatment is closer,” a response from Turnbridge, a nationally-recognized drug treatment provider based out of New Haven.

But Seymour resident Cody Roberts says cannabis was his treatment. Roberts was at the rally making his case, with a big cannabis flag in hand.

“I’ve been clean off pharmaceutical drugs since May 13, 2009, thanks to cannabis. Cannabis has saved my life,” said Roberts. “It’s a safer alternative to a healthier way of lifestyle. It’s a gateway to a better way of life. It’s not a gateway to drugs. It’s a better way to get off opiates.”

Samantha Welch from Wallingford isn’t so sure about that. She says her 8-year-old son’s health is the reason she is concerned about a billboard that could encourage drug use without enough research.

“His health, his wellness and being able to make an educated decision knowing what he’s putting himself at risk for,” said Welch. “For me it’s not something you experiment with without the knowledge. You need to know what it’s going to do and how it’s going to affect you and without that, you’re putting yourself at risk, as well as others.”

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