First-Ever Marijuana Commercial on Network News Airs in Portland, Oregon


UPDATE: KATU pulls the historic commercial after intense media coverage. 

The first marijuana business commercial to air on network television  in Portland, Oregon, will air this Wednesday. A commercial for the upcoming Oregon Medical Marijuana Business Conference (OMMBC) will be on during the evening news on KATU, the ABC affiliate in Portland (full disclosure, I help organize the OMMBC). While the cannabis industry and movement has made great strides in recent years, the fight for equal treatment continues on many fronts, including advertising outlets. Even though medical marijuana legalized first in California, all the way back in 1996, it made national news when the first medical marijuana dispensary billboard in the Bay Area went up in December of 2014. Network television has been very hostile to the marijuana industry, as a cannabis commercial was yanked from the TV schedule before ever airing in Denver.

It makes a lot of sense that the first cannabis commercial on network television isn’t for a vape pen or a dispensary, but on a conference designed to help people navigate the rapidly changing cannabis industry. The OMMBC commercial doesn’t advertise that anyone should use marijuana, but that those in the industry, or thinking of joining the burgeoning industry need to know the latest developments with medical and recreational regulations while also networking with the top attorneys, professionals and experts in the field.

The landmark spot will run on KATU this Wednesday between 5pm and 7pm and run Monday thru Friday until September 10th. Alex Rogers, founder of the OMMBC and Marijuana Politics, hopes that the first cannabis commercial on network news will help educate people about the medicinal and economic benefits of the plant.

“When educated on its use, cannabis can and does help millions of people. This is the start of something that has been a long time coming,” my good friend Alex told me. “It’s only a matter of time before cannabis is treated the same as beer in regards to advertising. It only makes sense as cannabis is less toxic than beer and pharmaceutical drugs advertised on television.”

The trailblazing commercial:

Network television, particularly the evening news, is still very important in our culture and society. Many people have their worldview shaped by television and too often they see stoner stereotypes that perpetuate Reefer Madness myths. The more that everyday people see that the cannabis industry and community is just like every other segment of society, if not a bit nicer, then the more they come around personally and politically. Commercials like this and more and more talented people coming out of the cannabis closet will only add to the momentum we are seeing across the nation for sensible cannabis law reform. Hopefully soon, it won’t be big news that a cannabis commercial breaks into a media sector; but each time we break down a barrier, we are one step closer to freedom and equality. Just as the OMMBC helps people succeed and break into the cannabis industry, the fact that this commercial is airing during the network news, shows that the cannabis community is breaking through the cultural divide step by step.

The Oregon Medical Marijuana Business Conference is September 12-13, purchase early tickets by August 28th and save $100. See for more details. 


Anthony, a longtime cannabis law reform advocate, was Chief Petitioner and co-author of Measure 91, Oregon's cannabis legalization effort. He served as director of both the New Approach Oregon and Vote Yes on 91 PACs, the political action committees responsible for the state's legalization campaign. As director of New Approach Oregon, Anthony continues to work towards effectively implementing the cannabis legalization system while protecting small business owners and the rights of patients. He sits on the Oregon Marijuana Rules Advisory Committee and fights for sensible rules at the legislature as well as city councils and county commissions across the state. Anthony helps cannabis business comply with Oregon's laws and advises advocates across the country. He also serves as content director of both the International Cannabis Business Conference and the Oregon Marijuana Business Conference, helping share the vision of moving the cannabis industry forward in a way that maintains the focus on keeping people out of prison and protecting patients. He was a member of the Oregon Health Authority Rules Advisory Committee, assisting the drafting of the administrative rules governing Oregon’s state-licensed medical marijuana facilities. He first co-authored and helped pass successful marijuana law reform measures while a law student at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law. He passed the Oregon Bar in 2005 and practiced criminal defense for two years before transitioning to working full-time in the political advocacy realm. His blogs on Marijuana Politics are personal in nature and don't speak for or reflect the opinions of any group or organization.