There's Always Someone Who Wants to Ruin the Party | Opinion

The weed business is smokin,' but let's not even get started on all the amusing puns.

As the business of cannabis continues to mature, people want to spend dollars promoting their brand. At Newsweek, we've run all kinds of "cannabiz" ads—from full-blown videos to a lowly banner promoting various (legal) aspects of the business. But it hasn't been easy.

In case you've been sleeping under a rock for the entire 21st century, the publishing business has been undergoing a radical change and it hasn't favored publishers. It is increasingly rare that people get newspapers and magazines delivered to their homes. Even digital navigation to home pages is on the decline.

We are driven by search and social. We hear about something and we search for it. We share it and we dig deeper. All of this has resulted in ad dollars moving away from publishers and toward platforms like Facebook, Google and more. We (well some of us anyway) bemoan the decline of publishers and journalism in general—that's nothing new—but there's a different nuance to the weed business.

As the general public becomes more accepting and more states move to lessen restrictions on marijuana use, publishers aren't exactly reflecting the same tolerance. Many of the big platforms don't want to have the terrifying business of cannabis on their platforms. It's likely because some lawyer somewhere is worried that advertising pot could have dire legal consequences. (Take a chill pill, dude).

This presents a golden opportunity for independent publishers. They can take money that the large platforms don't want and become healthier as a result. (Just another benefit that CBD can take credit for). So imagine the irony when your lowly publisher cannot take the ad because we now live on the platforms that are competing with us (Google) and we are not allowed to run cannabis ads their systems (AppNexus).

There's so much good that can come from the legalization from cannabinoids. For the consumer, it's cheaper and has fewer head-pounding consequences than its alternative. It takes a business that was in the black market and exposes it to sunlight enabling us to benefit from availability, taxation, and regulation. In the advertising business, it's a new source of revenue for publishers.

So if you've got an advertiser in this category and your infrastructure provider says you can't run it in their system, please remind them that they are on the wrong side of history and there's a difference between not wanting to run the ad and not allowing others to run it. Or just call us at Newsweek.

Cannabis and Publishing
An activist smokes a joint during a protest under the motto "No vamos a pagar, lo vamos a pegar" (something like 'We are not going to pay for it, we are going to get the kick out of it") against the imposing of fines for smoking marijuana by police according to their new code, in Bogota, on August 1, 2017. Raul Arboleda/AFP/Getty Images
There's Always Someone Who Wants to Ruin the Party | Opinion | Opinion