Marijuana and the media

by Pete Talbot

I’m talking adverting here, not news stories. And I want to know what’s going on.

I saw my first medical marijuana ad in the Missoulian last Sunday. It was a little guy buried in the Territory section. Has the paper’s advertising policy changed or do pot dispensers think Missoulian readers just aren’t their market?

Med./mar. distributors have been a godsend for the Missoula Independent — full-page, half-page, four-to-a-page ads fill our weekly. So, I’ve got to wonder if some of the ad execs at the Missoulian decided to climb on the bandwagon and allow the pot shops to advertise. It’s not like daily newspapers are rolling in black ink these days (pun intended).

And what’s next? A pot spot leading into a Mark Heyka weather report? Med./mar. underwriting NPR’s All Things Considered?

There’s nothing like a recession to change a company’s policy on the kind of advertising it will accept. I’d love to hear from media reps, herb distributors or others in the know.

  1. Pete,

    I can’t speak for other media, but the Indy has always maintained permissive policies for advertising. Our business is helping advertisers deliver their message. It’s not our job to determine who is and who isn’t operating legitimate enterprises. That’s a function of the government and codified in the law. I don’t think it’s our place to supersede that authority. The state says medical marijuana serves a worthwhile purpose. Who are we to disagree?

    Personally, I think some of the ads play the “weed” card too strongly, and that’s going to hurt the industry politically. I think the vendors could cultivate a less controversial image if they went pharmco and used sanitized brand names like “Tranquolite,” as opposed to hippie euphemisms like “Emerald Dream.” I believe the industry as a whole would be best served by emphasizing the clinical nature of the service. But that’s just one man’s opinion.

    By the way, I heard KPAX ran a medical marijuana ad during the Super Bowl. If true, I missed it, but maybe somebody else out there saw it.

    Matt Gibson
    Missoula Independent

    • petetalbot

      Well, at least one media person replied. Thanks, Matt.

      I hope someone can confirm that KPAX ran a pot ad. I certainly didn’t see it and would be truly surprised if it did.

    • Pogo Possum

      Both vendors and medical marijuana users should take note of Gibson’s comments.

      Sometimes, perception is everything. The voters approved the Montana Medical Marijuana initiative to help seriously ill patients obtain a regulated pain medication. They didn’t vote to set up head shops in every neighborhood in Montana.

      If the voters feel vendors or medical marijuana users are abusing the spirit of the initiative, expect legislators to make significant changes in the current regulations.

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