In-flight Cannabis Advertising Starts to Take Off

640px Las Vegas airport plane

IN THE AIR—Cannabis advertisers are taking to the skies, with two marijuana businesses recently introducing in-flight advertising on Allegiant Airlines and Virgin America.

In June, online cannabis guide app Wikileaf started broadcasting a first-ever infomercial-style video aimed at cannabis-friendly travelers on Virgin America flights. In the ad, Wikileaf recommends not traveling with cannabis; then, shows viewers how the Wikileaf app can be used to easily access cannabis dispensaries, in any legal state where travels may take them. Viewers also must consent to watching the in-flight video.



Alaska Airlines acquired California-based Virgin America airlines in early 2017. In a post on travel blog The Points Guy, writer Brendan Dorsey received response from Alaska Airlines, regarding the Wikileaf ads: “The ad is part of a 30-minute program called ‘Lifestyle 365’ that compromises of 10-15 commercials in varying length from 30-90 seconds. This is not an ad shown to all people on board Virgin America flights; a guest must actively choose to watch this 30-minute ad reel. It had 1,963 views out of 1.7M on RED this month. We are in the process of evaluating all the existing content on the RED entertainment system, as we move toward a consolidated IFE strategy across Alaska and Virgin America.”

Now, Las Vegas-based recreational vendor Acres Cannabis has inked a deal with Allegiant Airlines for a full-page ad to appear in its in-flight Sunseeker magazine, through the end of October.

According to The Las Vegas Sun, a meeting in early August of Clark County commissioners examined the issue of whether to allow cannabis advertising at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport. An ordinance proposal for cannabis advertising proposed by the county’s Green Ribbon advisory panel was apparently cited as “vaguely worded,” and the commission indicated taking a hardline policy on cannabis advertising, according to The Sun.

The proposed ordinance has not been passed, but if it does, it will allow cannabis ads at McCarren. Green Ribbon panelist Andrew Jolley told The Sun that he assumed that the ordinance would not affect airlines or their property, like on-board magazines or other in-flight advertising. Presumably, that would leave airlines to decide their own policies on cannabis-related advertising.

In regards to the Acres ad, Allegiant Airlines spokesperson Krysta Levy told The Sun, “We are a publisher, and they are an advertiser. The decision to allow Acres Cannabis to advertise in Sunseeker comes with no endorsement of the company or its products.”