A “Leafly” app ad appeared in the New York Times over the weekend, and it was hard to miss. Two full-page colored ads for Leafly ran in Sunday’s edition of the Times, and cost the app-makers close to $200,000. According to Leafly.com, the site “provides visitors with reviews of the best medical cannabis strains” and can also be used to locate pot dispensaries.
Writes NBC News: “In an ad in Sunday's edition of the paper, Seattle-based Privateer Holdings features its medical marijuana website Leafly.com, which helps users to find pot dispensaries and to choose strains. The ad depicts a woman jogger in Spandex gliding past a brownstone building as a crisply dressed professional man stands atop its steps with a bundle of papers under his arm.”
In the ad, the two individuals are seen with thought bubbles next to them. One says: “Ian chose an indica cannabis strain to relieve his MS symptoms,” while the other says: “While fighting cancer, Molly preferred a sativa cannabis.”
The advertisement carries a “Just Say Know” tagline – a play on words of the Reagan administration introduction of the “Just Say No” anti-drug campaign.
According to NewsMax, the ad touting the pot app came “just a week after the Times’ editorial board jumped on the pot bandwagon, declaring: ‘The federal government should repeal the ban on marijuana.’ It also appeared one day after Smart Approaches to Marijuana, a group advocating against legalization, ran its own ad repudiating the editorial.”
And just one day prior, in Saturday’s edition of the Times, GrassIsNotGreener.com ran an ad of their own, comparing the marijuana industry to “Big Tobacco.” The ad spoke of the dangers on marijuana legalization.
“The legalization of marijuana means ushering in an entirely new group of corporations whose primary source of revenue is a highly habit-forming product,” according to the ad.
AdAge.com commented on the controversial Leafly advertisement, and stated that Leafly “claims more than four million monthly visitors to its website and mobile app, which has been downloaded 1.6 million times, according to the company.”
Leafly’s marketing director Nathan Peterson said they are making history, and claimed dibs as the first cannabis company to run a full-page ad in the Times.
“It's history in the making,” Peterson said. “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.”