In spite of what you may think, legal pot doesn’t just sell itself, marijuana’s marketers are finding.
Small advertising agencies that focus on marijuana retailers say they expect demand for their work to pick up next year, when Colorado and Washington state begin allowing recreational pot sales. But even the shifting public attitude toward marijuana won’t make pitching pot easy.
The marketers said they’re finding much of the media industry remains hostile to pot businesses. Online search giant Google wants nothing to do with them, as do many newspaper publishers. Billboard operators are reluctant to offer them space. Even some pro-marijuana activists said they worry that an out-and-proud embrace of marijuana advertising could spark a reactionary backlash.
The ad agencies also face the legal challenge that federal law considers their work abetting a criminal conspiracy to distribute narcotics. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, even though the Justice Department said Thursday it would not interfere with licensed recreational sales in Colorado and Washington.