A pro-marijuana billboard in downtown Portland touting the safety of pot over alcohol was destroyed mere hours after it was unveiled. Given the content of the controversial billboard, the fact that it was vandalized on the eve of the annual Spring Beer & Wine Festival has fostered suspicion.

Featuring images of a pint of beer, a glass of wine, and a cannabis leaf, the text above the leaf reads "SAFER,” as marijuana does not lead to sudden or premature death as excessive drinking can (whether via binge drinking or over a lifetime of abuse).  

The text below the images reads: "Don’t Just Drink. Think." The upper blue border reads, "April is Alcohol Awareness Month" and on the bottom border: "MarijuanaIsSafer.org.” The nonprofit legalization organization, Marijuana Policy Project, financially backed the billboard. 

When reporters arrived to do the obligatory news stories on the pot billboard, they noticed it wasn't standing up properly, but "hanging from the top,” an indication the billboard was cut or vandalized in some manner.

The sign has not been replaced as the drinking festival commenced as usual. While no suspects in the billboard vandalism have been identified, the possibilities range from those opposed to marijuana legalization to those with a vested interest in alcohol who don't want it portrayed negatively to simple vandals.

However, given the nature of the billboard and the impending alcohol-centric festival, there's certainly the potential for this to be a politically motivated crime. 

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