First-Ever Cannabis Ads to Hit MBTA This Week

Natick's Northeastern Institute of Cannabis is launching an awareness campaign on the Orange and Red Lines.


Image via NIC

The Orange and Red Lines will soon get a little green.

The MBTA’s first-ever cannabis ads are set to debut on trolleys and commuter rail trains this week, thanks to the folks at the Northeastern Institute of Cannabis (NIC). The campaign’s rollout in the days following 4/20 is no coincidence.

“People just start thinking about how much they love cannabis this time of year. Hopefully they’ll start thinking about wanting to work in the cannabis industry,” says NIC school administrator Cara Crabb-Burnham.

The ads cost $3,500, and will appear on Orange and Red Line trains, as well as the Framingham and Downtown Crossing stations. The MBTA raised no objections to the ads and, upon completing its review, gave NIC the green light.

“They were surprisingly very, very helpful,” says Crabb-Burnham. “We had to go through the approval process to make sure they were comfortable. We didn’t have any problems getting our ads set up with them.”

“The days of cannabis being a taboo subject not to be spoken about are dead, and not a moment too soon,” says NIC founder and executive director Mickey Martin in a release. “We are pleased that the MBTA has allowed for cannabis advertising on their lines and are allowing us to bring our message of cannabis education to the masses.”

Crabb-Burnham expects a generally positive response to the ad campaign, but realizes that no matter what happens, someone’s mellow will be harshed.

“Inevitably there is going to be someone who’s offended. It doesn’t matter what anybody does,” she says. “But I think a majority of people are going to be happy to see the ads. I think people in the metro Boston area are open to cannabis.”

While there’s still no cannabis on campus (which Crabb-Burhham notes almost musically), the NIC offers a 12-week “Cannabis Industry Competency Program” to introduce newcomers to the emerging industry surrounding the plant. Consider it a Cannabis 101, with more advanced courses in cultivation, processing, services, and nonprofit administration due later this year.

A marijuana legalization proposal is currently in the works on Beacon Hill, with a ballot question expected to come in 2016. Gov. Charlie Baker has said he would “vigorously oppose” legalization, though Crabb-Burnham is hardly discouraged.

“I hope Gov. Baker will come and check out the school,” she laughs. “He is always invited.”