Weed Wars

Dispatches from the California Marijuana Front

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

Stoner 1.JPG

"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.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Stoner tennis.JPG

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."

About Comments

Reader comments on Sacbee.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Sacramento Bee. If you see an objectionable comment, click the "report abuse" button below it. We will delete comments containing inappropriate links, obscenities, hate speech, and personal attacks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. See more about comments here.

What You Should Know About Comments on Sacbee.com

Sacbee.com is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "report abuse" button to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand. If you want to discuss an issue with a specific user, click on his profile name and send him a direct message.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "report abuse" button to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at feedback@sacbee.com. Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them, but you may ask our staff to retract one of your comments by sending an email to feedback@sacbee.com. Again, make sure you note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us your profile name.

hide comments

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from sacbee.com. While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on sacbee.com and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.