The Story Behind 'Protect Our Society' And Portland's Meth-Girl Billboards
An unknown anti-marijuana advocacy group invaded Portland last week with a slew of anti-marijuana billboards. The ads, bearing the website www.ProtectOurSociety.org, depicted an emaciated adolescent girl who appears to be hooked on meth. The ads make the connection that marijuana, not meth, caused her condition.
It is baffling that the marijuana prohibitionists at ProtectOurSociety.org think Oregonians would buy into this shameful 'reefer-madness' propaganda. Last week, a group known as Women for Measure 80 decided to take direct action by calling up Clear Channel Outdoor, the advertising agency that provided the seven billboard spaces to the group for the "Meth-Girl" ads. After a flood of calls went out to Clear Channel Outdoor and Calvina Fay at the Florida-based organization, Save Our Society (whose name is registered to the ProtectOurSociety.org domain), the billboards were quickly removed. Dan Dhurva, a spokesman for Clear Channel explained that the ads were removed due to the lack of transparency regarding who actually paid for the ads.
Oregonians for Law Reform's Jennifer Alexander was able to speak with Dhurva, who gave the following statement on Thursday:
"The ads protesting marijuana are being removed because our policy is transparency of advertising campaigns, the advertisers who are in and the advertisers that are sponsoring them. These ads include a misleading website that we believe we needed to honestly represent the advertisers, so the ads are being removed."
So what's the story behind "Meth Girl"?
After some investigation and phone calls, Oregonians for Law Reform discovered that the "Meth Girl" ads were indeed staged, according to Kim Kapp, the Public Information Coordinator and Website Administrator for the City of Vancouver Police. "Meth-Girl" was a model that was mocked up to appear to be a meth addict for a meth awareness campaign in 2003. Kapp was "positive" that this was a model and not a real meth user because Washington law prohibits the use of face-shots of "victims of crime", which includes drug addicts. Further, because it was funded with federal grant money, there was very close oversight for the project, ensuring everything was done by the book.
What's going to stop ProtectOurSociety.org from trying this again?
The marijuana reform movement! Just a hand full of activists were able have these reefer-madness billboards taken down within a week of their arrival. It's this kind of action and communication that gives me hope for the drug policy reform movement yet. Measure 80 can win with your help!
The best part about this entire ordeal is that it's just the tip of the iceberg; keep your eyes open tomorrow morning for a press release from Oregonians for Law Reform regarding information that has recently come to light regarding a potential connection between ProtectOurSociety.org's billboards and who is really behind the Measure 80 opposition.
Please visit www.oregonlawreform.com/donate to make a contribution to support Measure 80 and end this Reefer Madness today!
Republished with special permission from the National Cannabis Coalition