Thursday, December 3, 2009

"Legalize it... and I will advertise it"

Back in the '70s, when Peter Tosh wrote that lyric, it was literally a pipe dream. But today, as the medical benefits of marijuana for cancer and other patients are becoming increasingly recognized by authorities, ads for legal pot are actually starting to appear.

In Colorado, for example, KUNC reports that ads for medical marijuana clinics are elevating the mood of a struggling advertising and media industry:

"Colorado voters approved the use of marijuana in 2000 for debilitating medical conditions such as HIV/AIDS and cancer. The industry is now blooming with more than 14,000 people statewide approved to use the drug, and that's a 70 percent jump from last year...

Colorado's booming medical marijuana industry is doing more than just benefiting dispensaries that sell the drug for a profit. Some media outlets hit hard by the recession are cashing in on the so called gold rush, collecting thousands of dollars in advertising. Others are taking a wait and see approach to the somewhat controversial revenue stream."

However, the article also quotes a legal expert who states that pot advertisers are still in danger from prosecution because they are breaking federal law.

In Sacramento, California, apparently advertisers are getting around this problem by using vague copy:

"There's no need to suffer in silence, Canna Care is here to help...If you're coping with chronic pain, arthritis, nausea, glaucoma or side effects from chemo, there are reliable alternatives."

Of course, this is just mainstream media. Online communities like "" actively promotes itself as "a place where medical marijuana vendors and medical marijuana co-ops can legally connect to exchange overgrow."

Then again, there was a time when today's illegal drugs were common medications:

I'm curious to know if anyone can find me an example of a modern Canadian ad. I'm doubtful, though. Medical marijuana here has been mostly decriminalized since 2000, but the dope itself seems to be sold either quietly by the government or through speakeasy "compassion clubs". I doubt either of these sources is eager to advertise.

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