Advertising Standards Authority rejects complaints about anti-cannabis billboard

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has rejected complaints about an anti-cannabis billboard.

Family First New Zealand funded the billboard, which displayed on a building beside the Southern Motorway in Auckland.

It reads "You can't legalise marijuana and promote mental health," in large letters.

Underneath this, it reads "Don't legalise." 

On Tuesday, the Complaints Board ruled the advertisement "did not contain anything indecent, exploitative or degrading, did not cause fear or distress and was socially responsible."

The ASA also ruled the billboard was unlikely to mislead consumers.

A previous billboard from Family First NZ received multiple complaints earlier this year.

This billboard was emblazoned with the slogan "Marijuana has a kids menu," with photographs of various cannabis paraphernalia, some of which appeared to look like lollies.

Seven complaints were received about this advert, with concern being the billboard was misleading, unsubstantiated and played on fear.

In February, ASA ruled the billboard did not contain anything indecent, or degrading. It also ruled the advert didn't cause fear or distress, and was socially responsible.

"Drug use is a major health issue, and that's why the role of the law is so important," said National Director of Family First NZ Bob McCoskrie in a statement on Tuesday.

"The public of New Zealand are not getting this information. Our billboards are designed to raise these inconvenient truths - and to provoke debate and discussion."

Family First NZ is an organization that seeks to promote "strong families, marriage and the value of life."

The organisation is vehemently against the legalisation of cannabis, saying it would be "foolish."

"The illegality of the drug and other drugs is vital as we fight the devastation its use causes on the users, their families and society in general," they said in a statement in February.

Family First NZ also led the opposition to the 2007 anti-smacking law, and the 2013 same sex marriage bill.