SACRAMENTO—Sacramento's FOX affiliate KTXL "FOX40" has been known for delivering many firsts to the Sacramento area. The station was first with a satellite news truck, first on social media websites Twitter and Facebook, and first with local, national and global breaking news. Monday morning will see another first -- the first paid advertisement for a medical marijuana dispensary, thought to be the first time an ad for marijuana has ever aired on mainstream television.
The thirty-second ad, paid for by Sacramento-based "CannaCare" and produced by KTXL, shows various people delivering testimonials on the benefits of marijuana when used for medicinal purposes. Text at the bottom of the advertisement indicates that marijuana can be used in the relief of many diseases and illnesses, including diabetes, HIV, Hepatitis C and hypertension among others.
Marijuana is not shown in the advertisement, and the word "marijuana" is never used. Instead, patients and the ad itself refer to pot as "cannabis."
KTXL's Acting General Manager Mike Armstrong says the CannaCare advertisement is likely the first such ad promoting medicinal use of marijuana to run on a mainstream television outlet ever.
"It is a matter of record within the medical community that medical marijuana can have positive results in helping relieve nausea and vomiting among cancer patients receiving chemotherapy and increasing appetites among AIDS patients," Armstrong said in a statement e-mailed to FOX40.com, alluding that the ad is no different from that of any medicine advertised by pharmaceutical companies on local television channels and cable networks for decades.
"Like so many other products advertised legally in media, it is a drug," Armstrong added. "When viewers watch the [advertisement] on air, they can see it's simply identifying this as an avenue to take if your doctor thinks it will help you feel better."
KTXL will air the advertisement during the station's morning and evening newscasts, and throughout the day.
"I'm curious what viewers will think about this," KTXL News Director Brandon Mercer said Friday evening. "We believe in giving the viewers a strong voice in our news products, and we certainly are going to hear a lot of opinions."
When asked how he felt about the ad airing during a news program, Mercer responded with "no comment," but later went on to say the station would dive into more details surrounding the ad during KTXL's evening news program "FOX40 News at 10pm."
The station is not running the "CannaCare" spot as a public service announcement, but instead as a fully-paid commercial advertisement. As with most television advertisement, information as to how much the station was paid to produce and air the spot was not expected to be publicly disclosed.
Advertisement promoting marijuana use, even for medicinal purposes, has come under debate recently when Facebook.com decided not to publish an ad promoting the legalization of pot for recreational use, which California voters will decide upon in November of this year. Facebook determined the advertisement did not meet its guidelines because it featured a marijuana leaf, which "is classified with all smoking products and therefore is not acceptable under our policies," a spokesperson for Facebook.com told The Huffington Post.
The advertisement, paid for by the pro-marijuana group "Just Say Now," later found a home on Google's advertisement network.
For more on the CannaCare advertisement, including an interview with representatives from CannaCare, an interview with the advertisement's producer and more on the station's decision to air the ad, watch FOX40 News at 5:30pm and at 10pm. To see the ad in full, watch FOX40 Live Monday morning starting at 4:30am.