NASCAR fans probably missed the pot ad message that marijuana should be considered safer than alcohol. Patrons were shown the “new beer” ad in the 30-second Marijuana Project Policy video.
However, the public service announcement was pulled from a portable screen across from Indianapolis Motor Speedway after it was presented to fans for several hours on Friday.
Few NASCAR fans seemed to notice the board, propped up on a trailer in front of the American Legion Speedway Post 500 lodge on Georgetown Road. That spot is typically flooded on race day. Three-day attendance estimates exceed 150,000.
But as soon as board operator Mike Estojak was told of the marijuana message, he made a call and said the ad would be yanked from the continuous video loop. The process proved to be complicated. The operator said it would be completed by the end of the day.
“The company that hired me (Grazie Media in Ontario, Canada) has policies against this and is content-neutral,” said Estojak, Mobile Technology Graphics president.
A Grazie spokesman who declined to divulge his name confirmed the ad would be pulled.
“We in no way support marijuana at family events,” the spokesman said. “We didn’t expect this ad to be interpreted the way it did. We don’t want anything to do with it anymore.”
Based in Washington, D.C., Marijuana Policy Project is the nation’s largest pro-marijuana legalization advocacy group. The ad emphasizes pot has “no calories, no hangovers” and “it’s not linked to violence or reckless behavior.” The narrator concludes, “Less harmful than alcohol, and time to treat it that way.”
Marijuana Policy Project spokesman Mason Tvert said his group paid $2,200 for the ad. It was scheduled to appear 72 times through Sunday.
“I certainly hope we get our $2,200 back,” Tvert said. “We think it’s rather hypocritical for these folks to pull an ad highlighting the relative safety of marijuana compared to alcohol, yet welcome with open arms the copeus amount of alcohol use taking place on the premises.”
The 20th Brickyard 400’s major sponsor is Crown Royal Whisky and Miller Lite beer.
IMS President Doug Boles and NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said the track and race were in no way connected to the advertisement.