Cannabis Advertising Hits Times Square On NYE

Times Square, New York
Image: TerabassCC BY-SA 3.0

Cannabis advertising appeared in New York’s Times Square for the first time on New Year’s Eve.

Conflicting opinions regarding how many people attend the event aside (estimates are anywhere from 100,000 to 2 million), it’s certainly a high profile affair and one that advertisers are keen to take advantage of.

Among the cannabis brands to tout their wares was Elixinol, which was denied the opportunity the previous year. According to HempToday (which has images of the Elixinol ads), other brands engaging in billboard promotion included Cannabis Network Media, MTracTech, and Restorative Botanicals.

“We are literally making history by openly advertising cannabis on one of New York’s busiest and most iconic nights of the year,” said Cannabis Network Media, which is a media, live streaming and aggregated content provider to the industry.

As for Elixinol, it produces hemp-derived CBD dietary supplements, food and wellness products, and the firm also engages in the cultivation and manufacture of medicinal cannabis products.

So, why was Elixinol able to advertise last year and not last?

Apparently a major factor was U.S. President Donald Trump signing the 2018 Farm Bill in late December, which legalised industrial hemp. While many U.S. states permit industrial hemp cultivation, at a Federal level it was still generally illegal up until that point, aside from some exceptions made in the 2014 Farm Bill that enabled states to start their own programs. With industrial hemp no longer a Schedule I substance, neither is cannabidiol (CBD) –  the non-intoxicating cannabinoid being pursued for its potential in managing and treating a range of conditions.

Commenting on the signing last month, Elixinol said it was major victory for hemp derived CBD.

“The legislation change will create significant growth opportunities for Elixinol as it removes existing barriers to trade by more widely opening up the ability for us to access crop insurance, banking and insurance services without restriction.”

As well as Elixinol USA, Elixinol Global (ASX:EXL) also has subsidiaries in Australia – Hemp Foods Australia and Elixinol Australia.

Other countries where cannabis brands have recently started to make an appearance on billboards in major urban centres include New Zealand.