Body Shop not smoked out by hemp ad critics

A Body Shop advert has been condemned in a Swedish city for using cannabis leaves to promote its range of hemp products. The crime prevention unit in Orebro, central Sweden, paid a visit to the ethical cosmetics shop this week, complaining that displaying the Cannabis sativa (industrial hemp) leaf could encourage drug use among youngsters.

“They argued that the use of the hemp leaf in the posters was offensive and provocative and that it undermined their work to tackle youth drug abuse,” Karin Wickberg Taylar, press spokesperson for The Body Shop Sweden, told The Local. She added, however, that the company has no intention of bowing to the city’s demands.

“We are not going to discontinue our poster campaign because of this. This product has nothing to do with the drug and there is no rhyme nor reason to Orebro’s actions.”

Wickberg Taylar went on to say that a lack of understanding about industrial hemp, which is commonly used to make clothes, rope and other everyday items, is behind the unit’s demands.

“They argued that the hemp leaf is the most common trademark for selling the drug. But this has nothing to do with the drug,” she said. “We have long had a hemp series in our assortment. We recently decided to market the products a little more as they help against dry skin – a common problem in the colder autumn climate.”

Wickberg Taylor admitted that although only a few, other countries have also reacted to the marketing which is used by The Body Shop all over the world. “We have had some problems in France. But in France there is clear legislation on this type of thing. In Sweden, there is not – we are doing nothing illegal,” she said.

She added that the campaign will continue in Sweden in the hope of shedding light on the often clouded differences between hemp and the drug cannabis.

“We hope that the campaign will in fact help to play down the issue, to remove the secrecy over the product. Hemp can be found in cosmetics, clothing, in plastics – it is nothing that is at all strange in our society,” Karin Wickberg Taylar told The Local.

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