Medical marijuana has become legal in an increasing number of states, but many major advertisers still haven't been comfortable running ads about it. Comcast, it seems, isn't one of those companies. On Monday, Comcast began airing a commercial for MarijuanaDoctors.com that the site says is likely the first spot to ever run on a major television network. The commercial appeared on Fox, CNN, ESPN, Comedy Central, AMC, and Discovery, among a number of other networks throughout New Jersey and Chicago. It will appear in Massachusetts next week.
"I got everything. Even California rolls, baby."
The ad riffs on buying marijuana from a drug dealer by placing an eccentric man beside a dumpster and having him talk about his fine sushi offerings. "This area's dry, man. You know that. I know that. Ain't nobody selling but me," the dealer says. "I got tuna, I got salmon, I got sweet shrimp. I got the finest sashimi this area has seen in years." The commercial tells viewers that instead of buying marijuana from a dealer like him, they can instead be matched with a doctor who legally prescribes the drug to patients.
"Securing the airtime for our commercial on a major network was extremely difficult and at the same time, extremely satisfying," MarijuanaDoctors.com CEO Jason Draizin says in a statement. "We recognize that the sale and use of marijuana is still considered very controversial and we are pleased that Comcast understands that there are legitimate businesses providing legitimate and legal services to people who have legitimate needs."
As with certain alcohol advertisements, Comcast has limited the ad to airing between 10PM and 5AM and excluded it from running alongside any family content. Though it's still a controversial subject, Comcast emphasizes that the ad promotes a legal service in the areas that it's running. "It went through our legal department, and they approved it," a Comcast spokesperson tells The Verge. Many may be unhappy about the ad nonetheless, but with the spot's late air times, it'll likely find the right audience.
Update: CNN Money notes that Comcast representatives were misinformed, and that the commercial never actually aired on TV. MarijuanaDoctors.com's press release appears to have been published prematurely.