Medical Marijuana Advertising Is a Delicate Trade

Interesting piece courtesy of the SF Public Press about the finer details of the medical marijuana advertising world. The piece analyzes the delicate balance between marijuana collectives and various publications and media institutions. The piece focuses on the Bay area, but the dynamics could just as easily apply to LA. Perhaps the most interesting part about the piece was learning that the still relatively wild and unregulated nature of the medical marijuana business–something LA has tried to crack down on in the last two years–is actually a huge boon to newspapers.

With rapidly liberalized enforcement policies, the most successful medical cannabis businesses are the ones that get their brand name out to the public. Dozens of the businesses are racing to capture the pot-smoking community’s mindshare, and are pumping hundreds of thousands of dollars into local media this year to do so.

“We probably spend around $2,500 to $3,000 a month on advertising,” said Kevin Reed, president of the Green Cross, a medical cannabis dispensary on Market Street between Eighth and Ninth streets. “We’re in a world where you’re competing with all these fly-by-night businesses who don’t have to follow the rules — they’re not regulated.”

Advertise or get swallowed up. We can just see newspaper sales reps across California licking their lips mulling over that quote.

The piece goes on to talk about various media institutions who negotiated lucrative marijuana advertising deals, only to have to cancel the contracts under public pressure. Worth a read.