This Might Be the First TV Ad for Marijuana, and It’s Kind of Racist [VIDEO]
Late-night TV watchers in New Jersey, Massachusetts and the greater Chicago area will soon spot a commercial that’s a bit different from current offerings. Medical marijuana recommendations and prescriptions site MarijuanaDoctors.com has distributed what might be the first commercial broadcast advertising marijuana to Comcast, the nation’s largest cable network, according to USA Today. The ad is both satirical and a little racist.
With a backdrop of palm trees and urban streets (eliciting thoughts of California and gangs) the ad depicts a street dealer pushing sushi, which he not-so-hygienically stores in his jacket pockets. The dealer, who’s been described as “shady-looking” and “seedy-looking” by other publications, is played by a rather clean Hispanic-looking man, a fact that brings up its own racial stereotype issues. Are drug dealers always of minority ethnicities? No. Are people of minority ethnicities disproportionally targeted by police for drug possession? Yes. But that’s beside the point, I guess. Anyway, after taking advantage of the public’s perception of Hispanics in California, a female narrator eventually asks, “You wouldn’t buy your sushi from this guy, so why would you buy your marijuana from him?” before introducing MarijuanaDoctors.com.
All three initial markets are among the 20 states that have legalized medical marijuana, but why New Jersey, Massachusetts and the greater Chicago area were chosen in particular remains unknown. While Colorado has legalized pot for recreational use, state law there restricts retail advertising.
The ad, embedded below, will air on channels like CNN, History and Comedy Central between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. The ad won’t appear on networks for children such as Disney or Nickelodeon.
In New Jersey the spots will air 800 times over two weeks starting this month, according to MarijuanaDoctors.com CEO Jason Draizin. The other markets will begin seeing the ad in April.
What do you think of this medical marijuana commercial?