Wallingford is known for its great murals, and over the summer Ryan Henry Ward did a beauty of one for Hashtag Recreational Cannabis. Wallyhood wrote about Hashtag when it opened in 2015. In our comments section, some were concerned about the location being close to a private daycare. Most people writing comments were unfazed, however.
Hashtag has now been open nearly two years and I haven’t heard of any issues about the store. In fact, neighbors seem to like them as the classy pot store. I spoke to a resident very close to the store and she confirmed Hashtag is a good neighbor. She adds “Sometimes there’s clientele smoking nearby on 36th but it’s really minimal as far as I’ve witnessed.” According to The Stranger pot reviews “This Fremont gem is the place to go if you’re an eco-conscious stoner.” Yeah, that sounds like Wallingford.
While I love the mural, there’s something questionable to me about decorating a pot store with large drawings which primarily appeal to children. Recently I noticed another image of the mural on a billboard above the 7-11 on Stone Way, so here is another opportunity to associate colorful animal characters with recreational pot.
I don’t pretend my opinion is a popular one, and I very much expect to get a lot of flak in the comments. I don’t think Hashtag is intentionally advertising to children. I’m sure they, like all of us, simply love Ryan Henry Ward art.
I do note how similar this is to the Joe Camel cigarette controversy of the 1990s. R.J. Reynolds, the maker of Camel, said the cartoon camel was not meant to target children. However, internal documents presented in court seemed to suggest R.J. Reynolds saw youths as their potential future customers and wanted to market appropriately. Whether that was the impetus behind Joe Camel though is unclear.
Does this sort of marketing (Joe Camel) even work? I’d like to think our kids are more sophisticated than that, but we do know billions of dollars are spent trying to influence our kids through advertising.
If anything, I hope this post challenges us parents to have conversations about safe pot use and how growing brains can suffer from effects of pot not seen in adults.
It depends on what gets painted or more specifically what it looks like and depicts. It could violate WAC 314-55-155. It would depend on the totality of the circumstances, that is what the mural depicted and if it was done in such a way to advertise the marijuana business (i.e., marijuana leaf, business name, marijuana innuendos, etc.) If the mural is painted in such a way that it promotes/advertises the marijuana business, it could constitute an advertising violation.
Given that definition, I would think Hashtag is in the clear. Joe Camel was depicted smoking a cigarette; there is nothing like that here. And what if Hashtag had a mural of a skull and crossbones? Would that be better? It might not be appealing to kids, but it would also probably be much less pleasant for the neighborhood.