Spike Jonze's ad for US marijuana retailer MedMen aims to normalise getting high

27 February 2019

Spike Jonze: The New Normal for MedMen

Did you know US president George Washington grew his own hemp supply? Us neither. This nugget (or should we say nugg) is just one doozy dropped in Spike Jonze’s new ad for US cannabis dispensary MedMen, called The New Normal. Far from the psychedelic potential you’d expect when combining Her director Jonze with a zoot, the two-minute slot is a political history of the drug which aims to normalise buying weed and challenge its stigma.

Inspired by 3D waxwork scenes that you find in museums, the advert takes the format of a series of tableaux depicting major moments in America’s relationship with cannabis. From the Founding Father, it moves to the US’s 80-year weed “prohibition” and how draconian drugs laws disproportionately affect people of colour.

“I’ve never been into pot much or a huge advocate for legalisation, but I’ve always supported it because it seemed absurd for the reasons we all know. And it always felt inevitable,“ Jonze told Forbes magazine. "But getting to do this, I got to learn the bigger picture of the whole story. I feel so hopeful, but the thing that sticks with me and upsets me is that there are still so many people that are still locked up for this plant that is now legal in so many places. That doesn’t make sense.”

The final scene of the ad shows a suburban couple returning home clutching a MedMen bag alongside their groceries – MedMen’s vision for the future in which shopping for weed is as normal as buying crisps. Recreational use of cannabis is now legal in 10 US states, while medical consumption is legal in 33.

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About the Author

Laura Snoad

Laura is a London-based arts journalist who has been working for It’s Nice That on a freelance basis since 2016.

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