Pennsylvania’s medical cannabis program isn’t set to launch until early next year, but some licensed growers are already inviting potential patients to find relief.
Cresco Yeltrah, one of 12 growers selected by the Pennsylvania Department of Health in June, debuted its “Welcome To A State Of Relief” marketing campaign, with a series of adverts displayed on electronic billboards. Ads are expected to appear along major expressways next month
Illinois-based Cresco Labs LLC is partnered with Cresco Yeltrah and the duo will produce their cannabis products in Brookville, a small town outside of Pittsburgh. Dispensaries are expected to open in Butler—a city roughly 35 miles north of Pittsburgh—and Pittsburgh. Charlie Bachtell, CEO of Cresco Labs, told Philly.com the company anticipates spending nearly $500,000 on the campaign, including the cost of billboards, newspaper and magazine ads, and social media engagement.
Cresco has been careful to adhere to Pennsylvania state law which requires approval on all cannabis marketing efforts. All of the materials within the campaign were approved by Pennsylvania’s Department of Health. State law also prohibits dispensaries from offering coupons, giveaways, or promotions. Although state-approved medical cannabis isn’t currently available—and won’t be on the market until early 2018—the ads are meant to generate curiosity and raise awareness in anticipation of the impending program.
Potential participants in the program must be diagnosed with one of 17 qualifying conditions. Bachtell told Philly.com he believes the program’s success will be dependent on three things: Patients ability to determine if they qualify, physicians signing up for the course that will enable them to recommend cannabis and subsequently discussing the viability of cannabis with patients. He also believes the campaign is picking up at the perfect time. “It’ not too early because this is not a product-focused campaign. It’s to let people know about the program,” Bachtell said in a statement. “You can’t start this early enough.”
Qualifying conditions for the program include: Terminal illness, cancer, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), glaucoma, autism, Multiple Sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and neuropathic pain or pain not treatable with opioids.