JAY-Z releases provocative campaign for cannabis line

(MONOGRAM billboards will appear in major cities)

Yesterday, Shawn ‘JAY-Z’ Carter and his cannabis brand, MONOGRAM, launched a nationwide awareness campaign focused on cannabis law. And it’s our Reel Ad of the Week.

The provocative out-of-home and digital series draws attention to the hypocrisy of current regulations governing cannabis throughout the United States, with shockingly factual headlines set against the backdrop of eight striking portraits of individuals who have been charged for cannabis-related offenses.

With 45 years having passed following the onset of the War on Drugs, MONOGRAM’s campaign highlights the lack of progress made since, along with the outsized consequences still facing those who have been victimized by its lasting effects across the U.S.

As demonstrated by the results of the 2020 election, more and more states are moving towards legalization as voters and lawmakers recognize the potential economic and wellness benefits the plant can provide.

However, while some progress has been made, cannabis continues to be stigmatized by political agendas and arbitrary borders that still demarcate who can benefit from it, whether that’s through entrepreneurship or the positive effects of its use.

Monogram aims to shed light on just how antiquated these regulations are by juxtaposing them with far more divisive realities, depraved vices or dangerous transgressions – from cannibalism to flamethrowing – each of which is still permitted in the eyes of local lawmakers.

These murals, billboards, mobile ads and wild-postings are currently on display across Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Washington D.C. and Miami, with plans to expand to additional cities before the end of March. 

“Cannabis laws are out of date and disproportionately cruel and punishing when compared to the rest of the legal code. We still don’t have proper regulation for texting and driving in Missouri, but staying home and smoking weed will get you locked up.”

— SHAWN “jay-z” CArter


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Carter noted, “I created this campaign to amplify the voices of those who have been penalized for the very same thing that venture capitalists are now prospering from with the emerging legal cannabis market. Far too often we forget that these are real people whose everyday lives and futures have been affected by this outdated legislature – people like Bryan Rone, who can no longer pursue a career in sales because of a cannabis-related conviction in 2003.”

While MONOGRAM endeavors towards a future through which cannabis can assume its rightful place in culture, the campaign’s depictions of real people negatively affected by the War on Drugs underscore that there is still significant work to be done to repair the injustices of its past.

Beyond high-impact static visuals, the campaign will also introduce video testimonials from its eight featured individuals, offering each the chance to share their firsthand experience with inequitable punishment for cannabis offenses in the U.S.

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