Driving along the Brooklyn Queens Expressway (BQE), you’ll see advertisements for just about everything, including alcohol, strip clubs and casinos. But there’s one ad you won’t see: a rejected billboard highlighting Mayor Bloomberg’s marijuana arrests policies in New York City.
Most New Yorkers don’t know that last year, the New York Police Department arrested close to 50,000 people for marijuana possession at a staggering cost of nearly $100 million. Even fewer know that possession of marijuana has been decriminalized in New York State since 1977. Yet over thirty years later, New York City has the dubious distinction as the marijuana arrest capital of the world.
To raise public awareness, the Drug Policy Alliance contracted advertising space on the BQE from TITAN 360, the world’s largest transit advertising company. The billboard, criticizing Mayor Bloomberg for his out of control marijuana arrest policy, was set to go up this week in Brooklyn and run through the month of May. TITAN estimated the billboard would be seen by nearly 400,000 people per day.
Then last week, TITAN rejected the billboard. In an email exchange, the TITAN representative said the landlord refused the ad because of ‘political circumstances from the Mayor’s office.’
This was a stunning response. What political circumstances? Did the landlord have ties with the Mayor? Was the landlord worried about upsetting the Mayor? We inquired with TITAN–but got no answers.