Dope ad makes strong debut

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HOLLYWOOD: Today: As America continues to decriminalise marijuana use, it appears that ads for dope could soon be as commonplace on TV as ads for beer or fast food.

Leading the charge is medicinal marijuana company MedMen, who’ve enlisted some serious Hollywood heavyhitters for a new campaign that attempts to show the injustice of the prohibition of marijuana in the US.

Directed by Spike Jonze and narrated by actor and dope activist Jesse Williams, the two-minute spot attempts to highlight the hypocrisy of America’s marijuana laws dating back to the time of its first president and apparent hemp aficionado, George Washington.

The ad, titled The New Normal, appeared on MedMen’s YouTube page over the weekend and will also get a run at the cinema, radio and entertainment cable networks such as E!, Bravo, and Oxygen.

Thus far, many of America’s TV networks have baulked at running ads promoting marijuana, citing broadcasting standards, not to mention that it’s still illegal in many American states.


“Our core value is around ensuring that people can lead safe, happy, healthy lives with cannabis being a part of it.”


Only 10 states have fully decriminalised marijuana use for adults over 21, while 33 states have legalised medical use. It remains illegal to use pot in any form in 17 states.

Commenting on the ad, MedMen CMO David Dancer told industry site AdWeek that the Jonze spot was designed to spur the “normalisation of cannabis”.

“We had a desire to create a commercial with a profound message,” Dancer said. “Our core value is around ensuring that people can lead safe, happy, healthy lives with cannabis being a part of it.”

On making the ad, Jesse Williams said in a recent interview: “I think a connective thread needs to be made, because the truth is, in middle-income white America, [cannabis] is already pretty normal: It’s the joke in every single coming-of-age movie, from Animal House to Superbad.

“White people know their kids smoke weed … They’re selling it, and buying it, but it’s not that big of a deal, because they’re human beings with potential in their lives, and that’s OK. But when black and brown folks do it, we’re thrown in cages for the rest of our lives, shot in the street, and then it’s justified in the news because someone might have had some marijuana in their system.”

While Jonze recently told Forbes: “The thing that sticks with me and upsets me is that there are still so many people that are still locked up for this plant that is now legal in so many places….That doesn’t make sense,” he said.


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