"It's like ... when you think about it, despite all our rage, we're still just rats in a cage, you know?"
Whatever the artistic message was meant to be (stoners smell like sawdust, maybe?), each cage came equipped with the same messages we've all come to find ridiculous. For instance, if you went inside, you could read hysterical ravings from scientists laughing at your brain damage, or see warnings of how pot can cause schizophrenia. Which isn't entirely untrue, but smoking pot is still magnitudes safer than wandering into giant hamster cages.
The campaign cost $2 million, which may or may not be a great deal, since there isn't a lot of consumer data on man-sized rat habitats. Marijuana activists weren't happy about any of it. Many men and women spent years fighting against exactly this type of absurdity to make pot legal, and suddenly these giant art installations arrive, dripping with antiquated fear tactics. Teens basically laughed it off by tagging the signs and posting photos of themselves rolling joints inside the metal bars.
"We scientists built giant cages for children! And we will have the last laugh
when marijuana makes YOU the crazy ones! HA HA HA!"
Multiple participants in the program backed out when they saw the lunacy of these fear cages. School districts refused to put them on campuses, and the entire city of Boulder straight-up rejected them, presumably on the grounds that "Holy Shit, Are You Kidding Me, Denver?"