Feds Don’t See The Need For Weed — Or The Ads For It

One of the most startling differences in the media landscape between where I moved from (Atlanta) and where I am now (Seattle) is that in the alternative weekly magazines, ads for medical marijuana dispensaries are quite prominent.

If the feds have their way, that may not last. SignOnSanDiego has more:

San Diego’s U.S. attorney, Laura E. Duffy, said marijuana advertising is the area she’s “going to be moving onto as part of the enforcement efforts in Southern California.” She said she could not speak for the state’s three other U.S. attorneys but that they have so far coordinated their efforts.

“I’m not just seeing print advertising,” Duffy said. “I’m actually hearing radio and seeing TV advertising. It’s gone mainstream. Not only is it inappropriate — one has to wonder want kind of message we’re sending to our children — it’s against the law.”

Federal law prohibits people from placing ads for illegal drugs, including marijuana, in “any newspaper, magazine, handbill or other publication.” The law could conceivably extend to online ads; the U.S. Justice Department recently reached a $500 million settlement with Google for selling illegal ads linking to online Canadian pharmacies.

If you saw Ken Burns’ recent PBS series Prohibition, you’ll understand that no matter what laws we currently have or are enforced, people will find a way around them when they’re determined to get what they want. (And if you haven’t seen Prohibition, I highly recommend it — you’ll learn all sorts of things about that era that’s not commonly known.)

And when it comes to advertising, if you stamp out traditional advertising methods, alternative ways of spreading the message will prevail. Even tobacco companies, which make a legal product, found new ways to attract an audience for their cigarettes when their TV and radio ads were banned in 1971. Camel Cash, anyone?



About Dan Goldgeier

Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. Dan is also a columnist for TalentZoo.com and the author of View From The Cheap Seats and Killer Executions and Scrubbed Decks.