Friday, July 19, 2024

What’s Up With The Marijuana Ads At TSA Checkpoints?

We all know the routine at the airport TSA checkpoints: Take off your shoes. Remove your belt. Check for loose change. Remove your laptop from the case. Take your cell phone out of your pocket. And put them all in a bin to be x-rayed.

If you happen to be going through the TSA line in southern California’s Ontario International Airport, something may look a little strange. Here’s how Robin Abcarian of the Los Angeles Times describes the change: 

I went through a Transportation Security Administration checkpoint at Ontario International Airport and saw it with my own eyes. A sticker that covered the bottom of the tray for my belongings said in huge block letters: “CANNABIS IS LEGAL.”

There was some fine print near the bottom: “Traveling with it is not. Leave it in California.”

And beneath that admonition, there were five corporate logos, all belonging to Organa Brands, the 7-year-old cannabis company that came up with this unusual campaign.

The ad campaign — the first public-service announcements for cannabis in an air terminal — is the brainchild of Jackson Tilley, Organa Brand’s publicity director, who came up with the concept after seeing ads for a dating site on the TSA trays. He took his idea to Organa co-founder Jeremy Heidl.

According to TSA policy, advertisements must be “non-political.” Tilley’s idea is not political at all. The message clearly states that it is illegal to carry on cannabis products on an aircraft.

Organa, based in Denver, has five brands under its corporate umbrella, including O.penVAPE, one of the largest vape pen companies in the U.S. 

“Anytime we can normalize cannabis, I think it’s a good thing,” said Heidl told Newsweek. “I’m still pinching myself a week into this. It’s just unbelievable to me that the TSA was able to sign off on this campaign.”

In two months, California’s recreational marijuana law will go into effect. Beginning on Jan. 1., it will be legal to possess, sell, grow and consume cannabis in the state. But, as the PSA warns you, it is not legal to take it out of the state.


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