Marijuana marketing to be discussed at Portland Advertising Federation panel talk

The Portland Advertising Federation is sponsoring “Burning Issues” Wednesday night, a discussion of the marketing potential in the legal marijuana industry.

For marketing purposes, the official start of the event is 4:20 p.m., a creative acknowledgment of the slang term for marijuana use.

The actual program is scheduled for 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. It will be held at Polara Studio, 614 S.E. Hawthorne St. Admission is $40 for federation members, $60 for non-members.

A range of new advertising, publishing and digital businesses are being launched to support this relatively new industry, according to the federation.

Oregon voters will get a chance in November to decide whether marijuana should be legal for those 21 years and older. Oregon itself currently has 113 approved applications for medical marijuana dispensaries. There are 22 states have some form of legalization.

The advertising group is sponsoring the panel discussion because “we want to address the issue from a marketing standpoint,” said Stephanie Murphy, Portland Advertising Federation executive director. “It’s really not where you stand on this issue, this is a new issue opening up in this state.

The panel likely will discuss the types of marketing that might work best. “Is it socially driven? Is it digital? Traditional? PR related? Is it brand driven?” Murphy said. “How are they going to brand the actual product? Is some grower or some retailer going to emerge as the Starbucks of marijuana?”

Panelists include Wes Abney, publisher of the magazine Northwest Leaf and the new Oregon Leaf; Anthony Johnson, executive director of the Oregon Cannabis Industry Association; Alexa Divett, co-founder and marketing director with Canna Marketing & Design; Ryan Mclean, founder of Bridge City Collective, one of Portland’s multiple location medical marijuana dispensaries.

– Allan Brettman

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