Pro pot activists upset over marijuana billboards

 The push to legalize marijuana in Arizona has already begun.

Supporters are working to gather enough signatures to put the issue on the ballot in 2016.

One valley group is upset over several billboards going up, warning of the dangers of marijuana.

They believe it will send a mixed message to voters.

The group putting up the billboards say they are not fighting the legalization of marijuana, they insist they are only focused on youth substance abuse.

One billboard popped up near I-17 and the 7th Street exit. It says "Regular long-term marijuana use, lowers IQ, marijuana harmless? Think again."

The billboard joins another on I-17 and Indian School that says "Would your child know if this cookie has pot in it?"

Some believe the billboards are an effort to push voters to reject a potential ballot initiative to legalize marijuana in 2016.

The billboards are funded by a Yavapai County group called Matforce.

The executive director of Matforce says they have had a focus on marijuana and the youth since 2012.

"We're actually a Yavapai Co. substance abuse coalition, there was funding available through the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission and we put in to do a statewide campaign. What we're looking at is to help youth realize the risks of marijuana," said Merilee Fowler.

"We've done a lot of strategies around prescription drug abuse, and had great success. An underage drinking task force as well, this is one of the many focuses we have," said Fowler.

"They're trying to justify maintaining prohibition because of negligent parenting and we're saying negligent parenting does not justify prohibition," said Dave Wisniewski. 

In total, Matforce has eight billboards between Prescott, Phoenix, Flagstaff, and Maricopa.
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