This story originally appeared in The Denver Post
A $35,100 billboard resembling a cross between a giant joint and a mangled car in downtown Denver is part of a statewide effort against smoking marijuana and driving.
The 28-foot tall billboard, displayed on the side of the Courtyard Marriott near the intersection of Curtis Street and the 16th Street Mall, is part of a Colorado Department of Transportation campaign. The billboard includes a headline: “Hits Lead to Hits, Don’t Drive High.”
“There are six marijuana dispensaries within a mile of the billboard so it’s very likely marijuana users will see it,” said Sam Cole, a CDOT communications manager, in a media release. “It’s also located downtown among scores of hotels where tourists may be staying. Some of these tourists may be unaware of the laws — and dangers — of driving high.”
The three-dimensional billboard glows at night.
The billboard was conceived and designed, at a cost of $16,600, by LoDo advertising agency Amélie Company, Cole said. The billboard will be in place through September with a “media buy” price of $12,500. The piece cost $6,000 to install.
The entire cost of the billboard was paid with a federal grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
In a survey done last year by CDOT, 55 percent of marijuana users reported driving high in the preceding 30 days. One out of every five DUI’s in Colorado involves marijuana, according to 2016 Colorado State Patrol data.