Weed billboard goes ‘up in smokey’

If you knew what was looking Dexter traffic in the face before this guy, you'd find it ironic.

Only you can prevent forest fires and inappropriate billboards in town, as one unnamed letter-writing resident discovered earlier this month.

Dexter City Officials spoke this week about the removal of a billboard advertising marijuana dispensaries, which are forbidden in the city of Dexter. The city adheres to the federal Drug Enforcement Agency’s Drug Scheduling guidelines and the general consensus of the federal government, which is that marijuana is still viewed as an illegal substance from the highest institutions in the land (no pun intended there).

The billboard ad was deemed in violation of the permit that the billboard company holds in agreement with the city.

“(The) ordinance … clearly (states that) you can’t put anything on there that is inappropriate, like tobacco (and) sexually explicit subject matter,” said City Manager Courtney Nicholls, who referred to a broader area of the permit stipulating the “adult” content in general is forbidden on permit billboards and signs in town.

The Adams Outdoor billboard on Dexter-Ann Arbor Road had the offending advertisement on it. The company was spoken of positively by city officials for the alacrity with which they responded to Nicholls’ email pointing out the ad content violation.

She received the resident email on August 18 and immediately sent Adams an email with the excerpted ordinance language after inspecting the offending billboard with her own eyes.

“They didn’t argue about it. They just apologized and it was gone the next morning by 8 a.m.,” Nicholls said, indicating that her understanding of how Adams and other billboard companies operate might have led to the billboard being published mistakenly in violation of city ordinance, possibly as part of a regional ad-buy by the marijuana firm that placed the ad.

Nicholls noted that she’s seen the same billboard in two different places in Ann Arbor.

“I saw it one day and then the next day, I didn’t see it,” City Councilman Jim Carson said in concurrence with Nicholls’ appraisal of Adams’ response.

Council and the audience at this week’s city council meeting had a laugh at Smokey’s ad coming to the rescue as a result of Adams’ effort to hash this matter out (that pun was intended).

“Now it’s Smokey the Bear,” Nicholls announced to uproarious laughter.

Always a straight-laced professional, Nicholls chose not to encourage everyone further by concluding: “It’s kind of opposite ends of the spectrum. Fortunately we have that contract.”