Pro-marijuana billboard coincides with PHX Open

Posted at 5:30 PM, Feb 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-01 20:14:56-05

The Waste Management Phoenix Open started Monday.  It's known as the "Greatest Show on Grass".  A billboard on Seventh Street and Lincoln in downtown Phoenix plays off that nickname.

Only the grass it's referring to is marijuana.

"Why are adults being punished for enjoying something that's objectively safer than the alcohol that's being promoted at this event," said J.P. Holyoak, Chair of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol.

Organizers with the campaign said it was a no-brainer.

"When they put out their slogan as the 'Greatest Party on Grass', how can we as an organization, whose goal is to legalize adult-use cannabis, not have fun with this?  It's a fun story," said Holyoak.  

But it's no laughing matter to the group that has been trying to block the ballot initiative the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol is fighting for.  

"I don't think hospitalizations, overdoses, addictions, drop-outs, accidents, and fatalities due to marijuana are anything to laugh about," said Seth Leibsohn, head of Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy.

Leibsohn considers the billboard insulting.

"I think to hijack a great event like the Phoenix Open, which is about athletics, which is about achievement, is the exact opposite of what marijuana does," he said.

Holyoak said they have the more than 150,000 signatures needed for the November ballot initiative to legalize recreational marijuana, but they are working on getting more because some of them are not legitimate.

Waste Management Phoenix Open Chairman Dan Mahoney told us late Monday, "We were not made aware of this billboard and it is not affiliated at all with the Waste Management Phoenix Open.  Our focus and message to our fans is always to have fun, but be safe, responsible and courteous to all of the PGA TOUR players and fellow golf patrons.”