A series of contentious billboard adds has sparked a debate on the future of cannabis culture.
For months now, East Hollywood has been subjected to a series of billboards featuring half-naked women and such high-minded puns as “Nice Grass,” all of which are advertising a cannabis vape product from Ignite Cannabis Co.
The ads, as well as the man responsible for them – social media figure and entrepreneur Dan Bilzerian – were called out as “sexist” and “misogynistic” in a recent article from Vice.
One of the first to comment on the article was cannabis activist Steve DeAngelo, who says that while he is reluctant to speak ill of cannabis entrepreneurs, he feels the ads are damaging to the industry as a whole.
DeAngelo’s pro-industry, anti-Bilzerian sentiment was shared by several Twitter users who felt that the ads are damaging to the image of the cannabis community, which many believe is making a continuous effort to become more inclusive, diverse and representative of all genders and orientations.
Many seem to think that this is just par for the course for Bilzerian, who has made scantily clad women a fixture of his online persona.
Considering Bilzerian has nearly 26 million Instagram followers, he has seen some support since the article came out. One user felt that the cannabis industry has become too “politically correct” and full of “snobs.”
What does the man himself have to say in response to the backlash? Well, if you’re familiar with the controversial entrepreneur, you know not to expect an apology.
So it’s clear that Bilzerian is unrepentant about the controversial ads, but remember - this is coming from the guy who openly endorses fat shaming, refers to his female friends as his “sister wives,” and whose Twitter feed generally reads like glossary for toxic masculinity.
The ads are staying, for the time being, but the conversation will continue as to whether or not the industry should continue to support this brand of marketing.