Tonight was going to be the unveiling of the long anticipated, first-ever TV commercial featuring a marijuana-infused vape pen, but it’s already over before it’s begun. A Colorado station was all geared up to run the 15-second spot for the Neos vape pen just before “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”, but even that late night time slot was not enough to squelch the fears of station management. Denver ABC affiliate KMGH got cold feet over possible legal concerns and pulled the plug just hours ago.
Denver local law dictates that marijuana ads can only run at those times of the day or night in which 70 percent of the estimated viewing audience is over 21 years of age. Furthermore, neither the vaping device nor the marijuana-infused e-juice can be shown in the ad per the local statutes as well. As we can see by the video below, Neos complied with all of Denver’s regulations.
Nowhere in the commercial do we hear the words “toke up” or “doobie.” It’s all very…well...commercial. The actors are seen hiking and camping, much like those in a traditional beer commercial. The catch line is,
“Now enjoy the best effects and control with Neos portable
vape pen and recreate discreetly this summer.”
The term “recreate” must be the new family-friendly version of “get high.” Still, the Neos ad was pulled from the air at the very last minute.
So close and yet so far away. To be fair, the yanking of the first-ever American marijuana TV commercial was not the idea of station management but rather its parent company Scribbs. KMGH originally approved the spot before postponing the advertisement indefinitely until the parent company “investigates the legality” of airing such a controversial product.
This seems odd considering the City of Denver has taken great pains to create specific legislation that allows for the airing of marijuana-related advertisements. Even though marijuana is legal in Colorado, it is not considered legal on a federal level. This ever present “grey area” tis what still gives the newly legalized Colorado marijuana industry so much angst.
A spokesperson for Scribbs released a statement this afternoon, saying that the company has concerns about the “lack of clarity around the federal regulations.” But Neos and its marketing company Cannabrand, the creator of the now thwarted advertising campaign, remain optimistic. The fight continues, although somewhat more amicably these days than in years past.