To the editor:
I write today in support of a proposal that I asked Sen. Diana DiZoglio to file after a discouraging incident in Haverhill.
An act banning marijuana billboards that would prohibit the use of billboard advertising of marijuana, essentially the same as existing law for tobacco products.
Loopholes in the current law give marijuana dispensaries the ability to entice children with their ads placed on billboards anywhere, within anyone’s view, no matter their age. Even near a bus stop as happened here in Haverhill.
Have we not learned from Big Tobacco how they have marketed to children before, and how they continue to do so now with vaping products?
This form of advertising is unnecessary and takes power away from parents to limit exposure to the allure of adult recreational drugs. Simply stated, adults who want to buy marijuana can easily “Google it” for dispensary locations. They do not need a billboard to find one.
As a parent who has personally witnessed the devastating impact of substance abuse and addiction on children, having lost my youngest son to alcohol and my oldest son to opioids, I know all too well the consequences of not having as many safeguards as possible in place to protect children from outside influences. This bill would bolster that protection.
Again, I want to thank Sen. DiZoglio for filing this bill and for standing with our community’s children and their parents who work tirelessly to protect them against underage substance use.
The letter writer is a Haverhill city councilor.