We all know that California has joined the ranks of a handful of states that voted to legalize marijuana on a recreational level. This is progress, of course: the people are speaking and it is us, ideally, who control the law of the land. As more states vote to ignore federal law in favor of state’s rights and common sense, the anti-pot crowd can do very little but sit around with Jeff Sessions listening to “Another one Bites the Dust” on LP.
Pot isn’t for sale yet in the Golden State, though certainly everyone knows somebody who knows somebody who sells it. But it will be soon: T minus two months (less, really). Like the other states that have legalized, California will ring in the New Year with its best buds.
But, just because cannabis isn’t yet available on the recreational level, the advertising world is marketing it anyway. Sure, they’re not buying out all the billboards in downtown LA or changing the Hollywood sign to read Hollyweed, but they are advertising pot at the airport. Ah, irony!
Of course, the humor in this is that marijuana can’t be taken into airports or across state lines. People do it, naturally, and many get away with it
But we’re not supposed to: the Mile High Club still just means the other thing.
This makes it odd that an airport would allow for cannabis advertising. TSA is a federal agency and we know the feds aren’t down with dope. Yet, TSA doesn’t regulate the ads on the trays people use to usher through security. Those contracts are up to those in charge of the airport and not the government. This isn’t to say the ad campaign was embraced with open arms. It’s safe to assume that, in true TSA fashion, it was as thorough as a cavity search. But, ultimately, TSA does not have “tray say.”
The ads are expected to run for the next year in the Ontario International Airport (in San Bernardino County). It’s estimated that nearly 15 million impressions will occur as a result of the advertising.Wo
The PSA Workaround
The ads are technically a Public Service Announcement since they do alert travelers that they’re not allowed to carry cannabis across state lines. However, this fine print takes a backseat to the message that recreational weed is now legal in California. And that’s really the whole point: to make it normal. It’ll soon by the new normal anyway.
This isn’t to say the PSA is unnecessary – pot can be confusing since the laws differ so dramatically from state to state. This doesn’t have to mean the difference between legal and illegal, either. In some nonlegal states, getting caught with a joint amounts to a ticket. But other states maintain their rhetoric of “pot is bad…and also save the children.” Cannabis for medical use also differs – some states allow it, others don’t, and some do but on a very conservative, limited basis.
But let’s get back to normalizing weed: the US indeed needed California to legalize – because of the population and political sway
And now normalizing it is exceedingly easier. The ads remind us of this: Mary Jane is in da beach house!
Oragana Brands Created the Ads
The brain behind the campaign is Organa Brands, a company based in Colorado (holla!). Per their website, they “began in 2010 with a promise to deliver extraordinarily quality cannabis extractions. Bringing together the best minds in the regulated cannabis market, Organa Brands operates the longest running CO2 extraction lab in the country – Organa Labs. With Organa Labs oil at the core of our products, we have seen unprecedented success as the first nationally scaled cannabis house of brands.
They worked with SecurityPoint media to get their point across the conveyer belt. Though they’re the first cannabis company to advertise on these trays, they’re not the first lifestyle brand. Shoe companies have advertised and so have dating apps.
One of the reasons the Organa Brands ad was allowed to come to fruition was the criteria for tray advertisement: it’s message, not company that matters. A company stating that weed is now legal in California is doing nothing but stating the truth – it’s not controversial in the least.
Cannabis in the Airport
No matter where you live or where you’re flying, cannabis isn’t allowed inside airports. It’s also not allowed on planes: the friendly skies are not the 420 friendly skies. But, as mentioned above, people take cannabis with them in their travels every day and they get away with it too.
Per the New York Times, Denver International Airport only stopped twenty-nine travelers for possession of pot in 2015 (they did not keep records in 2016).
That’s twenty-nine people out of 54 million passengers who flew to or from DIA
Those who were stopped didn’t face legal repercussions – assuming they possessed nothing over the legal limit, they were asked to throw the marijuana away or leave the airport and take it home.
This doesn’t mean you should try it too (and don’t call us if you get caught), but it does demonstrate that cannabis isn’t the priority of airport security (something they readily admit). And, of course, it shouldn’t be. For an organization tasked with keeping travelers safe, marijuana isn’t even on the radar.