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New York Times writer Maureen Dowd has literally become the poster woman for responsible pot consumption, after a public awareness campaign turned her bad edibles trip into a cautionary tale.

The Marijuana Policy Project, the group that helped pass Colorado's legalization initiative, has created a new billboard that heavily alludes to Dowd's eight hours of hallucination after she had too much of a pot laced candy bar. The ad is part of the "Consume Responsibly" campaign, which also has a guide for tourists partaking for the first time.

In June, after eating a "caramel-chocolate flavored candy bar" in Colorado, Dowd got to the point where "as my paranoia deepened, I became convinced that I had died and no one was telling me," as she wrote in her Times column.

Mason Tvert, the Marijuana Policy Project's communications director, said the organization had limited resources, but wanted to get people's attention. "Like any public awareness campaign the goal is to get the message out to the public," Tvert told The Wire. "We wanted to keep the spotlight on the important issue she brought up."

Dowd is the perfect representative for edibles awareness — not only did her column garner a lot of attention (and ridicule), but hers is a textbook example of the dangers of pot laced foods, which are much more potent that just smoking. Tvert noted that Dowd is a "smart woman who had every intention of using marijuana responsibly." She wouldn't go to a bar, order a martini, shoot it back and order five more, he said.

And that's because people know that alcohol takes time to kick in, they should pace themselves. Edibles have "been kept in the shadows for so long" that people aren't as familiar with how they work, he said. Hence the need for a public awareness campaign.

At the same time, Tvert said that they're not making fun of Dowd. In fact, Dowd is even a fan. “I love the billboard,” she wrote in an email to The Daily Beast. “I’m going to make it my Christmas card.”

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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