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Pro-pot group puts up billboard against anti-pot ads in Phoenix

Pro-legal-marijuana activists feel their opponents are using a "Reefer Madness" style of propaganda against Prop. 205. 

<p>The <a href="https://www.regulatemarijuanainarizona.org/">Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol</a> unveiled a new billboard in downtown Phoenix, Oct. 3, 2016. (Photo: Stacey Davis/12 News)</p>

PHOENIX - The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol unveiled Monday a new billboard in downtown Phoenix that slams opponents of Prop. 205 for what it says is a misleading and fearmongering ad campaign.

The billboard refers to the “No on 205” ads as “Reefer Madness 2.0,” declaring that they were “paid for with profits from opioid sales.”

RELATED: Fight over Prop 205 heating up

The committee that produced the “No on 205” ads, Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy, lists Insys Therapeutics, Inc., a Chandler-based pharmaceutical company, as a major funder on its website.

"We have put up this billboard to highlight two truly problematic issues related to our opponents," said Ryan Hurley, attorney and Prop. 205 supporter. "The first is that they are feeding misleading information to the voters of Arizona, in a manner similar to 'Reefer Madness' propagandists from last century.

"The second is that this anti-marijuana propaganda is being paid for with money donated by Insys Therapeutics, whose profits are derived almost entirely from the sale of fentanyl, one of the most deadly opioids on the market."

The drug is widely known to be abused recreationally or used in counterfeiting other drugs. Outside of medically supervised use, it has been blamed for many fatal overdoses, most famously that of pop star Prince earlier this year.

On its approved product page on its website, Insys lists only SUBSYS, a "fentanyl sublingual spray."

Hurley and other Prop 205 supporters believe marijuana is less harmful than alcohol and that opponents of legalization aren't being straight with voters, accusing them of propagandizing in a manner akin to that of the 1930s film "Reefer Madness."

"They can’t win with honesty, so they are distorting the truth," he said.

12 News reached out repeatedly to Insys Therapeutics for comment on this story, but has not yet received a response.