The upside to passage of Prop. 19, at least to the print media, would be a slew of new pot ads.
The timing is right because the ongoing recession has slammed newspapers, TV and magazines.
The jury is out on whether the media accept the ads or not because pot is still illegal unless you have a medical marijuana ID.
KCRA-TV does not air medicinal marijuana ads, nor does the Sacramento Bee or Sacramento Magazine. Facebook bans pot leaves it its ads, including ones from the pro-Prop. 19 “Just Say Now” campaign.
Conde Nast also has declined to run ads supporting passage of Prop. 19 because it “does not want to financially benefit from this issue.”
KCRA also does not run ads for hard liquor, and it doesn’t run ads for cigarettes or escort service-type businesses.
“Attitudes about smoking marijuana have changed, but I am against its legalization,” wrote Mike O’Brien, publisher of Sacramento magazine. “As we considered what to do about accepting cannabis ads, we spoke to medicinal marijuana dispensers, lawyers, readers and advertisers, and decided not to accept the advertising.”
O’Brien told KCRA: “Dollars are always appealing, but you know, each medium has to determine their audience and ways to serve that audience — that’s our current decision.”
The Carson City-based Swift Newspapers — including The Union and Sierra Sun — have been running marijuana ads, however. I’ve never seen an explanation to readers, as O’Brien provided, the “right thing to do” journalistically.
Next week Sacramento’s FOX affiliate KTXL “Fox 40” will air what is thought to be the first time an ad for marijuana has ever aired on mainstream television. To its credit, the TV station aired and wrote a story.
The upside can be significant for media outlets: About 15 percent of the Sacramento News & Review’s ads are for medical marijuana dispensaries, its chief executive told KCRA news.
Some outlets such as social news site Reddit are running pro-pot legalization ads for free.