I think that it is well known that Portland, Oregon is one of, if not the, most liberal city in America. Virtually everything is tolerated there, and in many ways Portland is a leader in marijuana culture and in the marijuana industry. The late great Jack Herer owned a headshop (which is still there and ran by his family) in Portland for a reason. With that being said, marijuana discrimination still occurs in Portland. Case in point is the refusal by a Portland media outlet to air a TV commercial for the upcoming Oregon Medical Marijuana Business Conference. Per Marijuana Politics:
Even after marijuana is legalized in a state, the fight for true equality continues. The fight can be personal, such as the unjust firing of a TV news anchor, or it can be on behalf of a business, or industry as a whole, like KATU in Portlandrefusing to air a commercial for the Oregon Medical Marijuana Business Conference (OMMBC). Portland is known as being one of the most cannabis-friendly cities in the world, so it comes as a great surprise to me that a marijuana commercial airs in Eugene and Medford after Portland TV rejects the ad. The OMMBC commercial is currently playing on KMTR in Eugene and KTVL in Medford, both network stations are playing the commercial during prime time, including the news.
A commercial for a cannabis vaporizer was supposed to air in Colorado, but was pulled at the last minute recently and some medical marijuana clinics, like Ashland Alternative Health, have advertised on television, but this is, I believe, the first marijuana business commercial to mention “recreational” marijuana on network television in Oregon, or anywhere in the country (if there are other “recreational” marijuana commercials airing on network television, please let me know in the comments). It is a shame that KATU, broadcasting in a progressive place like Portland, Oregon, would refuse to run the ad, especially when TV stations in Eugene and Medford were happy to air the commercial.
While we work to change federal law, it would be more understandable if TV stations would shy away from commercials that advertised a particular marijuana strain or cannabis-infused product, but it seems very odd to discriminate against a business that merely wants to help people comply with state law, as adhering to state law is one of the major priorities of the federal government. The OMMBC has lawyers, experts and politicians on hand that will help cannabis businesses and entrepreneurs comply with ever-changing local and state law, in addition to federal tax law that legally allows some deductions for marijuana business expenses, but not others.
Inadvertently, the rejection of the OMMBC commercial has probably led to more media attention for the conference and the commercial, so KATU may just be kicking themselves for turning down the revenue. Here’s hoping that in future years, the airing of marijuana business commercials will be much ado about nothing as the cannabis community and industry has achieved the equality and equal treatment that we all deserve.
There are still early bird registrations available for the Oregon Medical Marijuana Business Conference (until midnight tonight, at which point tickets go up to full price). You can get tickets at this link here. I hope this event sells out so that a message can be sent to KATU that they clearly made a mistake, and I also hope that marijuana consumers will boycott the station because if they don’t support us, we shouldn’t support them. Below is the commercial that has caused all of the controversy: