Media Relations Challenges, Opportunities of Working in Cannabis PR

More than 85 years have passed since “Reefer Madness” debuted, initially created as propaganda to “educate” young people about the dangers of marijuana. Gen X may remember former First Lady Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign against the rise of the crack/cocaine epidemic, but the rhetoric trickled down to school children of all ages. Elder millennials may recall anti-drug messaging in pop culture, including episodes of “Saved by the Bell” (There’s No Hope With Dope) and after-school specials.

Fast forward to 2022, where legalization of cannabis in many U.S. states has created an industry. Everyone from city councils to Martha Stewart wants in on the commercial groundswell. The vast array of products is far removed from the traditional plant and smoke image.

For instance, Stewart’s CBD (cannabidiol) line includes wellness gummies in flavor blends like Meyer lemon and kumquat. Sephora offers beauty items. Many national grocery chains sell CBD products on end caps—around the corner from vitamins.

Every industry needs someone steering messages, and several PR agencies have taken the lead to promote positive conversation despite the continuing stigma surrounding CBD and cannabis.


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