Will There Really be Marijuana Ads on TV?


“…in Medford it’s the biggest category for KROG and KCNA (our stations in Medford) So the other stations we don’t’ rep probably air it too. There are growers and dispensaries for recreational and medical pot advertising. Too many to list. I found same for our stations up near Spokane WA as well.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Email from station advertising rep


Backers of Proposition 64 have lied repeatedly to the new media, claiming that there are NO marijuana ads on the air, and none should be expected anytime soon.

In actuality, ads that promote smoking marijuana, marijuana candies and other “edibles” have been running for at least six years. These are both medicinal and recreational ads.

Please note: The exact same FCC regulation that would prohibit marijuana television ads, would also prohibit marijuana radio ads. From a legal viewpoint, they are identical. If one airs, the other can air. And once the first spot airs, an avalanche of ads follow, a this email from a radio station rep in Colorado points out:

“Once a client goes on the air on our stations, their competitors rush in. That’s probably why your getting a request. We will only accept one more dispensary. We only play 3 spots an hour. That’s a total of 72 spots a day. So we limit any same product advertiser to 4 on our stations.”

The very first medical cannabis ad to air in the U.S. aired in Sacramento, California in 2010. See it here:


Here are several medical cannabis ads that began airing in California last year, in both English and Spanish (http://archives.sfweekly.com/thesnitch/2015/01/07/sf-cannabis-dispensary-has-bay-areas-first-marijuana-ad):

Here is a sampling of the many, many recreational as well as medical cannabis ads running in other states:

In California, where less than 2% of the population have medical marijuana cards, television is generally not considered cost effect – yet. But when that goes from 2% to 100%, then it’s a whole different story.

The most slickly produced ads run online, like the one below, and clearly show where Big Marijuana plans to take the industry.

While this particular ad promotes marijuana soda, there is nothing to prevent the industry from airing marijuana smoking ads, in essence “re-normalizing” and glamorizing smoking all over again. The vape smoking industry tried it, and it took new legislation to stop their ads in California. Since Proposition 64 is an initiative statute, the only sure way to stop marijuana smoking ads on TV would be to pass another initiative. Such an initiative would have to beat back opposition from the newly-created $10 Billion a year corporate marijuana industry, an unlikely.

Just remember, Proposition 64’s proponents could have outlawed marijuana smoking ads on TV. Instead, they specifically allow it.