Marijuana users and advertising to them has existed as an open secret for a very long time, but that hasn’t stopped it evolving into a force which will continue to change. In the past year, the appearance of the first cable-broadcasted marijuana commercial and the first New York Times ad for marijuana have brought a larger conversation about the history and future of marijuana advertising.
A Medicinal History
Medical marijuana led the charge of legalization in America and it also provided most of the early forms of advertisements. Before the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 made possession illegal, doctors, pharmacists and merchants touted the medicinal properties of pot in every form available. From matchbooks to in-store standing displays, distributors sold cannabis based on its pain relief and calming affects.