When journalist Robin Abcarian heard a marijuana brand was paying for ad space inside an airport, witnessing the promotional phenomenon became her top priority — so much so that she booked a flight from the Ontario International Airport in California for the sole purpose of going through security.
Abcarian was preparing to empty her pockets into the bins provided at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screening area when she saw the seemingly out-of-place advertisement:
As marijuana reform spreads and laws across the world evolve, so too does public perception of the once-demonized plant that’s now legal in some form in most of the country.
One major component of that shift in attitude toward cannabis is the dissemination of information, as companies like Weedmaps (Marijuana.com's parent company, but you knew that already) have worked hard to stimulate informed discussion about cannabis among connoisseurs and newcomers alike. Discussions about marijuana that shed a factual light on the plant or culture make a huge difference in the battle to erase the negative stigma caused by decades of misinformation that persist in 2017.
And serious strides are being made, even in unexpected places.
Traditionally, the topic of cannabis has been touchy at the airport, especially when in line for a security check. But one airport in California is taking a different approach with travelers in line for a TSA screening, instead, reminding them that cannabis is legal in the state.
Cannabis producer Organa Brands is behind the marketing campaign, plastering the bins TSA uses in the screening process for carry-on luggage with simplistic ads stating, “CANNABIS IS LEGAL” in all capital letters. Because the text isn’t technically political in nature, as it simply reverberates an established law, the reminders adhere to TSA’s strict marketing guidelines. Underneath the primary message of the ad, Organa does include a warning that while the plant is legal in California, the federal government still prohibits travelers from bringing the substance across state lines.
"Traveling with it is not. Leave it in California,” reads the fine print.
Though TSA maintains they are not looking for drugs while searching travelers, local law enforcement at the airport may have different marching orders — so pack strategically and enjoy it all before you leave the state.