The editorial board of the NY Times may not have swayed President Obama into action by officially endorsing marijuana legalization, but that column apparently was a major turning point for The
Grey Green Lady. Today, the Times published what is believed to be the first full page non-advocacy, for-profit marijuana advertisement in its history. What's next, op-ed columnist Whoopi Goldberg?
"While we have run ads from marijuana advocacy organizations in the past, such as NORML [the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws], this may be the first non-advocacy ad that has run," a Times rep told AdWeek. "But since we do not track advertisements by subject, we can’t definitively confirm this claim."
Leafly, a website and app that locates and reviews medical marijuana dispensaries, were pretty overjoyed by the attention: "We really think it is history in the making," Scott Lowry, brand manager of Leafly parent company Privateer Holdings, told AdWeek. "It really would have been unimaginable a few years ago. Actually up until a few months ago, I think a publication like the Times would have told us no." Lowry added that the placement of the ad was suggested in direct response to the Times' increased coverage this week post-editorial.
It was certainly a pricey placement: according to AdWeek, the Times' open rate for a full page ad is, um, $179,908, which doesn't seem like a real number, but hey, who can put a price on the cost of progress and Macy's sales? But prudes have money too: the Washington Post reports that anti-cannabis nonprofit Smart Approaches to Mariujuana was also expected to run an ad in the Times this weekend for GrasslsNotGreener.
Clearly, the hearts and minds of a nation will be decided on the battlefield that is the part of the newspaper you put your coffee cup on in order to not spill anything on your dining table while reading a story about the inner lives of costumed Times Square characters.