Immediately following its week-long editorial series dedicated to the legalization of marijuana, The New York Times emerged on Sunday morning flaunting its first-ever full-page advertisement aimed at promoting medical marijuana.
This historical ad campaign, which was paid for by the cannabis consumer website Leafly, avoids the stoner stereotypes that the majority of the population often associates with cannabis by displaying two average people — a man and a woman — preparing the start their day, presumably under the care of a physician who has prescribed them marijuana for their respective health issues. “Ian chose an indica cannabis strain to relieve his MS symptoms,” reads the ad. “While fighting cancer, Molly preferred a sativa cannabis.”
The advertisement is a milestone for the cannabis industry, says Leafly’s marketing director Nathan Peterson, who contends times are indeed changing with the advent of a Leafly ad being featured in America’s largest metropolitan newspaper. “It’s history in the making,” Peterson told Ad Age. “A cannabis company running an ad in The New York Times was unimaginable a few years ago and another sign that the Berlin Wall of prohibition is coming down.”
Leafly says the “Just Say Know” ad campaign is designed to educate patients in New York about the availability of different cannabis strains, as well as assist them in making informed choices about the various pot products known to be good for treating their particular ailment. “Patients need a reliable, mainstream information portal about cannabis that is free of classic stoner stereotypes, and we truly believe that Leafly is the resource for them,” reads a statement on the company’s website.
Earlier last month, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Compassionate Care Act making New York the 23rd state to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes. Leafy says their latest ad campaign has been in development for the past 18 months, with high hopes that this legislation would, in fact, become law.
However, the company admits it was not until The New York Times editorial board published its piece entitled “Repeal Prohibition, Again,” earlier last week that the company decided to approach them about running ads. “For us to go out with an ad to reach the medical cannabis patient,” said Peterson, “we couldn’t imagine a better partner than The New York Times, which is America’s publication of record.”
There is speculation that Leafly paid in upwards of $200,000 for the full-page, full-color placement.