Smart Colorado and Novitas Communications Awarded PRSA Colorado’s

2015 Nonprofit Award and Gold Pick Award for Public Service and Nonprofit Campaign

The Annual Awards Program Honors the Achievements of Organizations for Best Practices in Public Relations

DENVER (May 11, 2015) — At the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Colorado Chapter’s annual Gold Pick Awards ceremony on May 7, Smart Colorado and Novitas Communications received two of the top awards in the state. The 2015 Nonprofit Award and 2015 Gold Pick Award for a Public Service and Nonprofit Campaign both recognize excellence in comprehensive communications strategy and execution. The awards were presented to Novitas Communications CEO Michelle Lyng and Smart Colorado leadership during the awards ceremony and dinner held in Denver. To read the PRSA press release, click here.

“We are honored to receive such recognition among our industry peers throughout the state,” said Lyng.  “Our partnership with Smart Colorado is a model for the team attitude with which we approach our communications strategy, and the excellence, integrity, and entrepreneurial spirit that are fundamental to the Novitas culture. The campaign’s success transformed Smart Colorado into a national expert on the regulation of marijuana edibles, and shaped the conversation about these kid-friendly products and their safety concerns across the country.”

The awards recognized Smart Colorado’s “Spot the Pot” campaign to raise awareness about the dangers to youth presented by recreational marijuana edibles in Colorado. The campaign included two Denver billboards seen by approximately 420,000 drivers and two dozen unique media mentions or interviews in local, national, and international outlets including The Today Show, USA Today, NBC Nightly News, HuffPost Live, Agence France-Presse, The Associated Press, The Denver Post, and more. With a limited budget, the campaign generated an earned publicity value of $1.2 million and reached 570 million potential readers and viewers.

In fact, a November 2014 Gallup poll reported that only 51 percent of Americans still supported legalized marijuana, down from 58 percent in its poll from the previous year. Here’s what Gallup cited in its poll for the drop in support nationally for the legalization of marijuana:

“More recently, Colorado has been in the news over the sale of marijuana-infused edibles — everything from brownies to gummy bears — and the risk they pose to children, possibly sparking public concern.”

In Colorado, marijuana became legally available for recreational use among adults over 21 years of age in January 2014. As Halloween approached later the same year, a plethora of marijuana edibles in the form of gummy bears, cookies, chocolate, and more were virtually unidentifiable from their non-marijuana counterparts. Smart Colorado provided the primary educational voice and resources to kids, parents, and youth leaders about the dangers of accidental consumption and underage consumption among children and teenagers.

About Smart Colorado

Smart Colorado is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting the health, safety, and well-being of Colorado youth as marijuana becomes increasingly available and commercialized. Smart Colorado is a project of the Colorado Nonprofit Development Center. To learn more about Smart Colorado, please visit our website at

About Novitas Communications

Denver-based Novitas Communications is a full-service public relations firm offering media relations, issue management, crisis communications, strategic marketing, and public education campaigns to clients across the globe.  Novitas helps clients craft and implement communications campaigns that influence public opinion, enhance brand recognition, and keep stakeholders informed. To learn more about Novitas Communications, visit

About PRSA Colorado

The Public Relations Society of America ( is one of the nation’s largest associations for the professional practice of public relations. The Colorado Chapter (, headquartered in Denver, has more than 430 members. The Chapter provides timely and profession-specific educational programs, information and networking opportunities to all of its members, which include professionals at all levels working at local and national public relations agencies, corporations, government offices, universities, and nonprofits, as well as independent PR practitioners.