San Francisco (AP),
Medical marijuana advocates Wednesday began a billboard campaign that features the 8-year-old daughter of a man in prison for cultivating pot. On 30 billboards across California, Ashley Epis holds a sign that reads, 'My Dad is not a criminal.' Her father, Bryan Epis, is serving a 10-year federal sentence for growing cannabis for a Chico medical marijuana club. The billboards, sponsored by a host of marijuana groups, also read, 'Medical marijuana, compassion not federal prison.
' California voters in 1996 approved a measure that allows people to use marijuana with a doctor's recommendation. The federal government, however, does not recognize the law and has raided California medical pot clubs and arrested growers who say they are cultivating for patients. Drug Enforcement Administration spokesman Richard Meyer said the groups are 'entitled to express their opinions,' but added that marijuana remains illegal. The marijuana groups said they paid about $20,000 for the banners. Billboard company Clear Channel Outdoor donated the space for a month.