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Remember When the First-Ever Cannabis Commercial Nearly Aired on Network Television?

August 19, 2015

It's actually happened twice now, once in the Denver market and most recently in Portland, Oregon. The latest commercial was supposed to air between 5:00 and 7:00 pm starting today, August 19, through September 10, but Portland network KATU decided to pull it from its local TV schedule due to all of the media attention surrounding the ad's "historical" significance. (Call me crazy, but wouldn't that be a good thing? Since when does a television network not want increased attention and viewership?)

So what was the ad for, a vape product? Fluffy buds? A local dispensary?

Actually, the commercial promoted the upcoming 4th annual Oregon Medical Marijuana Business Conference, which will be held September 12-13 in Portland. If you're disappointed that the first-ever cannabis commercial to air on network TV wasn't going to center on something "cool" like products or cannabis culture, keep in mind that this industry faces huge roadblocks when it comes to advertising. Remember last month when a cannabis commercial was pulled before it was scheduled to air in the Denver market? Many advertising outlets are wary of accepting cannabis ads in any form as long as the substance remains a Schedule 1 drug under the DEA's classification. This ad for the business conference was an attempt to ease tensions about allowing cannabis advertisements to air on network television — baby steps, if you will.

Industry supporters were hopeful that this Portland-area commercial signified a small step towards the acceptance of cannabis advertising that could ultimately lead to the industry's ability to take bigger marketing strides in the near future. But alas, we're still not quite there.

Check out the 30-second commercial for the Oregon Medical Marijuana Business Conference below: