z420.tv was an American internet news channel created in 2016 by digital media entrepreneur Michael Zinna. The network featured news and discussions about the evolving cannabis culture in the United States. According to Zinna, the channel was modeled on CNBC; but instead of covering financial markets, z420 covered all things cannabis. Topics included the medical marijuana industry, cannabis legislation, the psychological and cultural impact of cannabis, and more. The company’s slogan was “We take the high road.”
z420 produced anywhere from 20 to 60 hours of video content per week, centering mostly on cannabis lifestyle. It had two feature lifestyle programs. The first, “What Are You Smokin?” was hosted by prolific Hollywood actor Eric Roberts. z420 described the show as follows:
“‘What are YOU Smokin?’ focuses on what happens when Marijuana is not handled with care and things go really bad. Bad policy, bad laws, bad science, bad business, and of course, bad behavior. Cannabis News, Politics, and the World of the Weird in Weed, all delivered to you cheekily by acclaimed actor Eric Roberts.”
The second show was called “Cannabis Consciousness.” Hosted by American actress and model Andrea Lowell, it featured discussions about obscure cannabis facts and history. As the network advertised it:
“Join our host Andrea Lowell as she dives into the depths of your consciousness and pulls out the awesome. Ancient knowledge, hidden health secrets and psychedelic psychology will bring you to the highest vibrations and have you digging for more.”
To take one example, in March 2016 Lowell presented a video titled “High Parents Are Better Parents,” in which she argued that using cannabis made parents more patient, energetic and creative. She went on to favorably compare smoking marijuana with other coping mechanisms like drinking alcohol and taking prescription medication such as Xanax.
The network also produced a short-form news program called “This Week in Weed,” sharing new and interesting developments in the world of cannabis. The last edition of the show featured a story on how the state of Oregon spent the revenue it generated from its marijuana tax.
Although he created a media channel dedicated to cannabis, Michael Zinna is not a user of marijuana. He approached the venture from the point of view of an entrepreneur. Comparing cannabis legalization to the end of Prohibition in 1933, Zinna emphasized the massive economic opportunity it represented. He believed that it opened up new spaces in the digital media marketplace, which z420 was intended to fill.
One purpose of z420 was to give businesses a way to reach cannabis users with their advertising. That included companies directly associated with marijuana; for instance, companies that make and sell smoking devices like pipes and vape mods. But ideally it would also include well-known companies that, on the surface, have nothing to do with cannabis.
As examples, Zinna cited Jack in the Box and Frito-Lay. Since cannabis users are known to consume certain products, it would be valuable for such companies to place targeted ads where cannabis users are certain to see them. By purchasing ad space on z420, they would be in a position to do just that.
While Zinna had plans to syndicate z420’s video content so that it appeared on various cannabis-oriented websites, the channel’s last video was uploaded on March 9, 2016.