Marijuana advertising is no longer an underground operation in Colorado but the latest trend is angering some parents- texts sent to children’s cell phones.
Medical marijuana ads are everywhere, from newspaper advertising to billboards. Now the advertising is branching into new territory, directly targeting consumers via cell phone texts.
“I really didn’t know what it was until I asked my mom,” said 10-year-old Trey Digby.Trey started getting texts from an unknown out-of-state number and showed his mother. “I couldn’t believe that a marijuana dispensary could come into my home and text my kids and expose them to this,” said Trey’s mother Kelley Digby. Digby said since Nov. 2012 her son has received about 25 text ads from the Urban Dispensary in Denver. Even after requesting the number be removed from their database, the texts keep coming.
The dispensary manager said the shop does not advertise to children, only to patients who provide their phone numbers on a membership form. Those phone numbers are manually entered into a group texting site out of California. Digby said that’s an imperfect and dangerous way to advertise. “There are so many numbers that can be easily transferred to children and avenues for error, numbers transposed and give kids access to these.”
The Colorado Drug Investigators Association said this new form of pot advertising is disturbing. “I’m a parent, so when I see something like this it makes me mad,” said Colorado Drug Investigators Assn. Sgt. Jim Gerhardt. “People that are proponents for it, you need to pay attention to how this might impact kids.”
Trey agrees. “Please stop sending these texts they’re bothering me and I’m kind of scared.”
Colorado’s Marijuana Task Force recommends prohibiting all mass marketing campaigns that have a likelihood of reaching minors. Another recommendation from the task force allows opt-in marketing on the web and mobile devices as long as there is an easy way to opt out.