Long before states took measures to legalize recreational cannabis use, companies fueled money into anti-pot ads for the citizens to see. These ads would depict cannabis users as ‘lazy potheads’ who sat on the couch all day with little to no motivation whatsoever. For instance, one ad from Above the Influence showed a woman physically melting on the couch after smoking a joint. This ad aimed to depict cannabis smokers having no motivation and being couch-locked all day after a joint. Since Google wasn’t booming with information at the time, people looked towards relying on television and newspapers for there daily news.
Even in the wake of question 4 lingering over in the state of Massachusetts, the anti-pot ads have been making a comeback on television. Anti-pot ads are now going after states aiming to legalize cannabis for recreational use. An ad was released a few weeks ago for the state of Massachusetts depicting what the future would look like with legal recreational use. This resulted in one of the most hysterically inaccurate television ad ever released in the 21st century. It just goes to show that the ‘Reefer Madness’ hysteria is still lingering around society.
Here at MakeSandcastlesNotWar, I decided to conduct an in-depth analysis of the inaccuracies of the television ad. After a few views of the video, I scribbled down some problems and debunked the proposals with my own research on other legalized states. Here are a few things that puzzled me about the colorful advertisement:
Cannabis Dispensary Building
When the ad airs, we see a mother walking with her daughter to the toy store. She stops to notice this new ‘cannabis’ store that recently opened up. Her daughter looks into the window to see this delicious candy on display (look how DELICIOUS that candy is!). While her wide eyes were glued to the candy, her mother shakes her head in disbelief at what they were selling. The store has pot leaves decorated on the windows and the word ‘CANNABIS’ above the symbols. It was the kind of outdoor advertising that screamed, “WE SELL POT! JOINTS, DABS, TINCTURES, AND DELICIOUS EDIBLES TO ENJOY!”.
What really bugged me about the building was how overly-exaggerated the ads were on the windows. Even the medical dispensaries in MA aren’t so obvious to find. With a little help from Google Maps, you’ll be sure to find out where the dispensaries are.
Do you see this building right here? That right there is Lightshade Labs, a licensed recreational dispensary in Denver, Colorado. What you’ll notice is that the building doesn’t really look like a cannabis dispensary on the outside. It just seems like a single-floor building with a black awning depicting the company’s brand name and logo.
What’s the part that makes it out to be a recreational facility? The green cross on the right of the awning. Yes, that green cross is the subtle clue that the building sells cannabis (the color choice depicts the color of cannabis leaves while the cross symbolizes hospitality). Notice the simple décor of the building: no cannabis leaves, no graphic art that spells ‘cannabis’, and certainly no edibles put on display near the windows. That green cross is a popular brand symbol when marketing a recreational cannabis store.
Many recreational cannabis shops in Colorado, Washington State, and Oregon have similar features like Lightshade Labs when utilizing outdoor advertising for their building. Owners simply guide customers into their store through subtle images (the light green cross!) that depict what kind of products they sell. People have been associating the green cross symbol with cannabis for decades, so it’s not a huge loss for using subtle advertising on the building. In conclusion, Massachusetts would probably use design templates from Colorado or Washington State when constructing their new recreational shops.
Kevin Buying the Weed (Oh No!)
This ‘Reefer Madness’-type ad ends with the mother’s son Kevin exiting the store with a bag full of goodies (probably those delicious ‘high-potency’ desserts that were on the window display!). She stares at her son in disbelief and just says, “Kevin?!?” in utter shock. Her son just brought those ‘high-potency’ edibles right into the home, which will break up the family. OH NO! OH THE HUMANITY!
So here’s the deal: alcohol is legal to purchase for anyone 21 and older, which applies to the majority of the United States. In legal cannabis states, the minimum age to enter the store is 21, the exact same age to buy alcohol. With a few quick looks, I can obviously tell that Kevin does NOT look 21 years old at all. If he wasn’t 21, how could’ve he entered the store easily? Did he pull a McLovin and grab a fake ID?
Either way, we can tell that Kevin did NOT look 21 years old in the advertisement. All people who are in the legal cannabis states MUST be 21 or older to enter the stores. You have to be 18 or older to enter the “smoke shops” around Massachusetts, so why would you think that the recreational cannabis stores would be easier to get into? It’s true that you would have good money to bring into the cannabis industry, but only if you meet the age requirements for purchasing such products. So we’re onto you Kevin…we don’t know how you were able to get into that shop, but you definitely grabbed a fake ID beforehand.
At the end of all this, I thought the commercial was absolutely hilarious. With technology shifting information to us left and right, it seems childish to think that Americans would be fooled into thinking cannabis is a dangerous drug. This silly advertisement won’t change my mindset because of the mass hysteria that it is trying to generate. Cannabis prohibition is slowly dying with more and more Americans favoring full legalization for their state.
Remember the old 80s ad where the guy fries an egg on a pan, depicting what your brain looks like on drugs? NO JOKE: John Roselius, the man in the ad, voted for cannabis legalization in California. You heard me right: John Roselius actually supports cannabis legalization. At this point, you can tell that the world has surely changed in the past 20-30 years. With just one week away till the election, it’s up to the hands of American citizens to determine the fate of cannabis in this country.