Can Big Marijuana Advertise? Signs Point To No

Oct 1, 2015

Is it marketing or an “awareness campaign?” That’s the question sparked by a company’s upcoming ads for medical marijuana.

Credit Jennifer Brdlik

Chicago-based Cresco Labs is the BIG player in Illinois’ medical marijuana market. It holds permits for cultivation centers in Joliet, Kankakee, and Lincoln. It’s a big investment for the company…so it’s investing what it says is “seven figures” worth of ads, in print and on radio, social media, and billboards.

Only about three thousand patients have been granted medical marijuana cards so far…and that’s falling far short of the numbers the industry had expected. So advertising makes sense. Not so fast, says the Illinois Department of Agriculture. They say cultivation centers are not allowed market to the public. The department is evaluating Cresco’s ad plan and looking into fines or other punishment. But Cresco’s president says the campaign doesn’t violate any state guidelines…it’s only to create awareness of Illinois’ new medical marijuana laws.