The ball won't be the only thing dropping in Times Square this New Year's Eve — cannabis companies will also be dropping, for the first time ever, ads on some of the nation's most precious "commercial" real estate: the digital billboards that line the iconic tourist destination on its busiest night of the year.
And a Colorado CBD company is leading the pack.
"A year ago, we were denied advertising in Times Square," said Chris Husong, director of sales and marketing for Elixinol — the Broomfield CBD company that's traded on the Canadian Securities Exchange and has distribution in 40 countries — in a statement. "What a difference a year makes — we join the entire hemp community in celebrating what’s to come in 2019."
This isn't the first time a cannabis-related company has tried to advertise in Times Square. Weedmaps, a Yelp-like marijuana dispensary locator with user ratings, announced it would be running eight-second ads in 2014, only to see its hopes dashed by CBS Broadcast, the anchor tenant of the purported display.
Elixinol and its partners in this New Year endeavor appear to be the first cannabis companies to successfully advertise their wares on the iconic screens. The company is giving credit to the 2018 Farm Bill, signed Dec. 20, which decriminalized hemp, the nonintoxicating chemical compound found in that specific strain of cannabis.
The company has already made news by becoming the first CBD company to advertise in Tokyo's Omotesando subway station, and Elixinol's co-founder and President Gabriel Ettenson hinted at bigger things to come in an unpublished December email conversation with Denver Business Journal.
“Elixinol is currently available in 40 countries, including Europe, Japan and South America," Ettenson told Denver Business Journal. "I think we’ll see more international opportunities because both the FDA and the World Health Organization are declaring CBD safe."