Weed Wars

Dispatches from the California Marijuana Front

March 15, 2010
What's a 'typical stoner?' In ad campaign, they look like yuppies

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"Karen," who is "a typical stoner," just made full professor. She uses marijuana for insomnia.

And she is featured in an advertising campaign by the Medi-Cann cannabis physician clinics.

The medical pot network, which includes clinics in Sacramento, Elk Grove and North Highlands, advertises itself with glossy leaflets portraying medicinal marijuana use as a mainstream experience.

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The ads for Medi-Cann, which operates 21 California medical cannabis clinics and has overseen medical referrals for more than 170,000 pot patients since 2004, pitch stories of medical users.

They are young professionals or students seemingly bound for success.

There is Karen, 40 in her library. There is "Josh," 38, an HIV patient and a "typical stoner" who is a "full-time law student and community volunteer."

There is a "typical stoner" named "Andy," 32, a plumber who smiles as he fixes a sink -- thanks to a back pain-relieving medical marijuana. There is "Tonya," 36, "a typical stoner" and real estate broker who soothes her anxiety with cannabis.

There is also a "typical stoner" named "Mary," 65, a grandmother and retired teacher who uses marijuana for arthritis but looks fit working out with a barbell.

Medi-Cann marketing director Kenneth Pettingill couldn't confirm if the profiles are actual patients "due to doctor-patient confidentiality." But he added: "We're portraying our patients as they are - regular people."

Linda Stokely, a public relations and marketing specialist for other marijuana businesses, including dispensaries in Sacramento, says such ad campaigns are needed in an industry still struggling for wider social acceptance.

"It's a good thing because people still have this old image of tie-dye shirt-wearing hippies," Stokely said. "This points out how many people who have full-time jobs and responsibilities are using medical cannabis for their ailments."


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About Weed Wars

Peter Hecht

From its pot fields to politics, California is the epicenter for America's marijuana discussion. This blog covers news, trends and people of the California marijuana story.

Contact reporter Peter Hecht at phecht@sacbee.com

» See the sacbee.com marijuana topics page

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