Is Washington’s Weed Too Commercial?

By Jenny Bloom
Washington Cannabis Connection


If you live in Western Washington, it is not too hard to notice the large amounts of marijuana advertisements. For some, the billboards and magazine ads are a welcome reminder of the Washingtonian freedom to choose. However, for others, it is something that has spiraled a bit out of control.

Regulating Marijuana Advertisements

The signing of the Pot Omnibus Bill in May directly addressed some of those concerns. Similar to what happened with the tobacco industry, the state is now actively prohibiting advertisements that could be attractive to children.

For advertisers, this means significantly less branding and fewer opportunities to entice those not already using marijuana. For parents, and those who resent the number of marijuana advertisements shown on a regular basis, this is a welcome change.

Mascots are for Kids, Not Stoners

Perhaps the most noticeable change Washingtonians can expect to see is the disappearance of marijuana sign-spinners. Frequently seen outside of recreational stores in the Seattle-Metro area, these weed marketers direct passersby to nearby weed. Although helpful for impulse buys, the state considers these tactics to be commercial mascots, similar to Cap’n Crunch and Joe Camel.

Washington also included transit advertisements, inflatables, animal advertisements, costumed characters and depictions of cannabis in their now prohibited list. A few years prior, laws required stores to minimalize designs on storefronts, only listing whether it was “recreational” or “recreational and medical.” For shoppers, the combination of these two policies makes it slightly harder to find stores or discover new ones. Now, those looking for the closest weed store may have to rely on apps such as Weedmaps to help them find marijuana.

Following the Lead of Our Northern Neighbor

The crackdown of Washington marijuana advertisements should not come as a surprise. Marijuana marketing is a fast-growing industry. With the legalization of recreational marijuana and a relaxed policy toward marketing, a new niche quickly developed. Out of nowhere, Seattle- based agencies such as Online Marijuana Design grew into marketing giants.

Meanwhile, others began to take notice of Washington’s fast-growing market, some publicly criticizing it. In April, Canada announced it would be taking a similar stance against aggressive marijuana marketing after visiting Washington State. The country has legalized marijuana nationwide after already successfully legalizing both medical marijuana and hemp in the early 2000s. Also like Washington, they are the second to legalize recreational marijuana. The South American country of Uruguay holds the honor of being first.

© Washington Cannabis Connection. All rights reserved.

Jenny Bloom

Jenny Bloom is a freelance writer that loves writing Sativa-inspired stories for the web. She also works full-time as the editor- in-chief for the I Love Growing Marijuana blog. When not gardening, Jenny enjoys hiking, yoga, and binge-watching Netflix.