PORT ANGELES, Wash. -- On the streets of Port Angeles you can advertise just about anything. Signs point people to coffee shops, car dealers and political candidates. But there is one product being advertised on the road into town that is putting the “rush” in rush hour.
"We just thought it was perfect," says Liz Beavers, owner of "Chronically On Time" medical marijuana delivery service.
"I'm seeing fuzzy green bears outside my office," said business owner Jason Bondy. "It makes you check your eyes."
He's talking about Buddy The Bear. Buddy is a guy in a green bear suit, reminiscent of artwork associated with The Grateful Dead. He waves to people heading in and out of town while wearing a sandwich board advertising the dispensary's "discreet delivery." The service bills itself as an answer for patients who aren’t comfortable walking into a marked dispensary.
Beavers says her business is no different than Dominos Pizza, and she should be able to advertise the same way.
"Advertising is extremely important. Word of mouth will only get you so far in this business," she said.
Some in the city are now wondering whether a big green bear promoting pot is legal. The answer: maybe. State law forbids the marketing of marijuana to children, and some worry that’s what’s happening here.
"Why not make him a cigarette for adults, not a fuzzy creature for kids," said Bondy, who sees the bear parade in front of his window tinting business a few times a week.
There are surprisingly few restrictions on advertising medical marijuana. Ads are not permitted within 1,000 feet of schools or public parks. The ads are protected by the 1st Amendment. Rules regarding the promotion of recreational pot reside in a sort of gray area right now because they're still being written.
Beavers concedes her dancing bear may appeal to children, but that’s not the intent.
"We're after the older crowd. People just need to be honest with kids," she said. "It’s a marijuana delivery service. It’s medicine."
For now, the bear is helping Beavers's business boom. Calls are way up since Buddy hit the streets. She is confident this sort of advertising will helping her budding business continue to grow.