LA's only dispensary owned by a Black woman is using OOH to work around tricky weed advertising restrictions – Morning Brew


If you’ve spent time in LA’s Crenshaw neighborhood recently, you’ve probably seen a mural at the corner of Crenshaw Boulevard and 43rd Street. It shows a woman, head wrapped, next to the words “Black Women Get Us Higher,” almost mimicking a church window’s stained-glass panes.

The mural is part of a launch campaign for Gorilla Rx, a dispensary that opened its doors during the last week of August. (Here’s a video of how the mural came together.) Though reflective of the neighborhood’s residents and history, the founder of Gorilla Rx, Kika Keith, doesn’t look like the average dispensary owner: a 2017 survey from Marijuana Business Daily found that 81% of cannabis-business owners and founders were white, while only 4.3% are Black. 

According to Keith, Gorilla Rx is LA’s only Black-woman-owned dispensary.

“Everything is set against us to make sure this doesn’t happen, which is why we’re celebrating. We’re almost an anomaly,” Keith’s daughter Kika Howze, who’s leading marketing strategy for the dispensary, told Marketing Brew. “As soon as one of us opens the door, it’ll create hope and opportunity for so many more people.”

The mural was led by marketing agency Decoded, which provides pro bono services to select BIPOC–owned businesses. Aside from creative work, Decoded donated $20,000 to Gorilla Rx for media and other costs.

“Out of home was the one thing that we knew we couldn’t get on our own,” Keith told us. “Now we have metrics. Now I can go back to investors and say, ‘Listen, look at what this did.’”

Gorilla Rx and Decoded had to be strategic with their outdoor placements. As we’ve discussed, advertising pot comes with a whole mess of regulations. For instance, if Gorilla Rx wanted to include any imagery or mentions of the leaf, they would have to make sure the OOH wasn’t anywhere within 1,000 feet

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