How Companies Are Trying to Bring Marijuana Ads Online

CALIFORNIA:  Yes, cannabis can. It has been a landmark time for marijuana, with entrepreneurs rushing into the Wild West of the budding industry. They’re not just growers and sellers, but forward-looking tech experts who have seen pot’s bright digital future and are committed to realizing it.

Who can fault their optimism? In the past year, legal cannabis has become the fastest-growing industry in the country. Sales in 2014 totaled $2.7 billion, up a whopping 74 percent from the previous year, according to The ArcView Group, an Oakland, Calif.-based investor network focused on the substance. Their analysts have boldly predicted fourfold growth to nearly $11 billion in sales in the next five years, as the U.S. sees more states easing up on weed laws.

Despite legalization of various forms in 23 states and the District of Columbia (plus 10 more placing legalization of some kind on the 2016 ballot), pot businesses have struggled to get the word out. Cannabis is still viewed by many as a “vice” industry, and online publishers have, for the most part, stayed away from running advertising from companies operating within the sector; Google, Facebook and Twitter don’t run ads for marijuana businesses, even in fully legal states such as Colorado and Washington.

Marijuana Ads To Air In Major Texas Cities

TEXAS: It’s the final push for a group wanting to decriminalize marijuana in Texas.

A cable TV ad began airing Tuesday in a few major cities, including San Antonio. The ad is in support of a bill that would make having under an ounce of pot only a citation offense. But local law enforcement says some of the commercial’s arguments don’t add up.

In the ad, Russell Jones, a former narcotics officer in California and current Texas Hill Country resident, says “Law enforcement officials have more important things to do with their time” than arrest people for possessing pot.

Though he is a proponent of legalizing the drug, Jones told KSAT he’s backing the decriminalization bill, because “I think people in Texas are ready to have this discussion.”

Hmm..Did You Know Shifts Perceptions With Rich Media Cannabis Portal

WASHINGTON: Marijuana marketing is coming of age now that legalization is growing both the need and the branding budgets of the cannabis industry’s first crop of pot products.

Cannabis media too is evolving – moving beyond the stereotypical High Times and Cheech & Chong 1970’s sensibility into the modern era of integrated digital marketing.   Meeting the growing need for reliable information — about the laws, the culture, the science and the new cannabis brands —  New York filmmaker Kerri Accardi and her 420MEDIA agency are rolling out a new platform called “Hmm did you know?”

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQj0vNGrWXg&w=560&h=315]

In an exclusive interview with MJ News Network, Accardi explains that HDYK will be a visually-inspired rich media web destination designed to serve as a comprehensive source of information, education, and entertainment about cannabis and hemp.   “We are creating an online platform featuring professionally-produced series, commercials, digital media, and integrated marketing. HDYK is a place to see faces of the cannabis industry.”

Accardi came to the industry first as an activist, pursuing a passionate drive to raise the awareness of medical marijuana.  Through project work with several leading dispensaries and an assignment shooting last summer’s Seattle Hempfest,  she developed strong personal connections with pioneers and industry leaders, many of whom have agreed to participate in HDYK, including Hempfest’s Vivian McPeak, CCSE’s John Davis and MJBA’s David Rheins.

“The idea manifested when my Aunt Kathy was sick and I was trying to convince my family that cannabis was medicine,” the Staten Island native told MJNN. “There was no where for to me to show them other than scattered websites that were far and few between.  Grateful and beyond humbled I’m now aligned with pioneers and industry leaders to share education and information on a global level through visual entertainment and media.”

The multi-media platform will focus initial content offerings in five key channels: Healing, Science, Business, Hemp and Organic Growing, with an emphasis on programming that shifts public perceptions shaped by years of propaganda. “HDYK will shift consciousness and change the way people perceive our miracle plant, ” she said. “It will give the industry a place to share their products and information while providing the knowledge to those seeking.”

Advertising opportunities begin as low as $1000, and scale all the way up  $50K primary sponsorship packages.

For more information about getting involved with Hmm Did You Know? Email info@420MEDIA.us; or call (425) 420-0585

What Are The Marijuana Advertising Restrictions In Washington?

WASHINGTON:  It’s hard to succeed in an industry without advertising, any industry. But it’s particularly difficult in a new, emerging industry like the marijuana industry. There are very strict rules in Washington when it comes to marijuana business advertising. If you are in the industry, or trying to get into the industry, you need to be aware of what you can and cannot do. Below are the rules, per the Washington State Liquor Control Board:

1: Advertising by retail licensees. The board limits each retail licensed premises to one sign identifying the retail outlet by the licensee’s business name or trade name that is affixed or hanging in the windows or on the outside of the premises that is visible to the general public from the public right of way. The size of the sign is limited to 1,600 square inches.

2. General. All marijuana advertising and labels of useable marijuana and marijuana-infused products sold in the state of Washington may not contain any statement, or illustration that:

    1. Is false or misleading;
    2. Promotes over consumption;
    3. Represents the use of marijuana has curative or therapeutic effects;
    4. Depicts a child or other person under legal age to consume marijuana, or includes:
      • Objects, such as toys, characters, or cartoon characters suggesting the presence of a child, or any other depiction designed in any manner to be especially appealing to children or other persons under legal age to consume marijuana; or
      • Is designed in any manner that would be especially appealing to children or other persons under twenty-one years of age.

Health Canada Clamps Down On Medical Marijuana Advertising

CANADA:  Health Canada has ordered Canada’s medical marijuana companies to stop making their products look so good.

The department issued warning letters this week to licensed commercial growers across Canada telling them to clean up their advertising by Jan. 12 or face suspension and even revocation of their licences.

The letters, customized for 20 officially licensed producers of medical marijuana, set strict limits on how their products can be presented on websites and social media, even forbidding photos of buds or the inclusion of hyperlinks to other websites that promote the product.

The tough restrictions also prevent producers from telling customers how varying strains can treat different symptoms, insisting on only bare-bones information.

Cannabis Company Rolls Out Seattle Billboard Campaign

WASHINGTON:  As part of the new normal in Washington’s legal pot world, a locally-based cannabis company is rolling out (or rolling up?) the United States’ first marijuana billboards Tuesday in locations throughout Seattle.

The ads come from Dàmà Cannabis, owned by Seattle-based New Leaf Enterprises, and they’re only part of a larger ad campaign that will unfold throughout the month at major Seattle events.

The company plans to advertise its oils and other products on more than 15 billboards throughout the Puget Sound area for the next six months, complying with state I-502 laws prohibiting ad placement near schools, churches and cemeteries.

The first five billboards are going up Tuesday in Queen Anne, West Seattle, Sodo and Rainier Valley, according to the company.pot ad2

“Vote Medical Marijuana” TV Ads Air All Week Spotlighting Congressional Members in Washington State

WASHINGTON:  The medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is running two new 30-second TV advertisements on MSNBC, CNN, and HLN in eastern Washington every day this week. The ads draw attention to the Kettle Falls 5 case–a federal prosecution against patients lawfully growing for their own personal use–and spotlight how Members of Congress voted last month on a House measure to curb this type of federal medical marijuana enforcement.

One of the ads focuses on Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), who grew up in Kettle Falls and now represents the same district where defendant Larry Harvey lives. On May 30th, Rep. McMorris Rodgers voted against a bipartisan measure that would protect her constituents by restricting Department of Justice (DOJ) spending on enforcement in states that have legalized medical marijuana. Despite Washington’s 16-year-old medical marijuana law and the questionable enforcement practices occurring in her own district, McMorris Rodgers has consistently opposed medical marijuana reform in Congress.

The other ad praises Congressman Doc Hastings (R-WA), one of 49 House Republicans who voted in favor of restricting DOJ enforcement in medical marijuana states. Hastings reversed his stance on medical marijuana from previous years, but he will be retiring his seat in eastern Washington at the end of his term. The ad publicly recognizes the Congressman’s position, but also encourages voters to find out where the numerous candidates running for Hastings’ open seat stand on medical marijuana.

Washington Medical Marijuana Business Tests Advertising Limits

WASHINGTON:  A Port Angeles-based medical marijuana company’s new advertising strategy is turning heads — and raising questions about cannabis marketing.

The business, called Chronically On Time, deploys an individual dressed in a green bear suit to advertise the company’s MMJ delivery service. “Buddy the Bear” stands on the sidewalk of busy streets, wearing a sandwich board with a promotional message while waving to passing cars.

Some locals feel that the mascot could appeal to kids, but the business owner said that is not the intent.

“We’re after the older crowd,” owner Liz Beavers told Seattle’s King 5 News. “People just need to be honest with kids. It’s a marijuana delivery service. It’s medicine.”

After The Hoax, Can Pot Ads Ever Air Nationally?

NEW YORK:  It was either a slow news day or the fact the campaign in question featured the buzzworthy hot topic of pot, but MarijuanaDoctors.com pulled a fast one over many media outlets, as initially reported by CNNMoney’s Brian Stelter.

The trouble started when MarijuanaDoctors.com issued a press release on Friday, March 7 announcing it would start to air commercials for medical marijuana use — a first for mass-market TV. Indeed, the controversy surrounding marijuana has made it difficult for big name broadcasters to even consider ads.

However, the release apparently jumped the gun by claiming these ads would, in fact, air on major networks, such as Fox, CNN and ESPN. Instead, an ad was uploaded to YouTube.com and the group ordered ad time via Comcast Spotlight for local spots in New Jersey, which has a medical marijuana program on the major networks cited. Yet Comcast Spotlight (as do all sellers of TV ads) retains final approval rights before a spot airs, and ultimately rejected the ad.

Perils of Pot Press Release: MMJ Doc TV Spot Dropped

NEW JERSEY:  This is a yarn about how a single press release about pot misled dozens of major media outlets.

The press release in question was published Monday on behalf of MarijuanaDoctors.com, a company that says it helps connect patients with doctors who prescribe medical marijuana.

The release stated that MarijuanaDoctors.com was buying television ads through a division of Comcast, marking — its words here — “the first time that any ‘major’ U.S. network has ever allowed the advertising of a medical marijuana service.”

Turns out that was a false claim — the ads never actually aired.