|“Who’s got the lighter?! Let’s spark the fire!”|
There are states with medical and recreational marijuana laws on the books where a person can adhere to all of their specific state laws, pay all applicable local tax and licensing fees, and conduct a safe and honest business in the cannabis industry. But, in many cases, they still cannot get a company credit card with which to conduct the day-to-day merchant services that are essential to any type of business.
So it is pretty interesting to see singer Gwen Stefani, no stranger to some weed, featured in a new MasterCard television ad. It is even more interesting when you hear the song that MasterCard marketing execs chose to represent their multibillion dollar brand.
“Who’s got the lighter?!” Stefani asks in the hook of her new single, heard prominently on the MasterCard commercial. “Let’s spark the fire!” she continues, with the lighter apparently located.
The surefire Pop Chart hit is uncoincidentally titled “Spark the Fire”, and was produced by Stefani’s ultra-talented co-host on NBC’s The Voice, Pharrell Williams.
The MasterCard commercial is strange enough, as the always-impeccable Stefani uses some sort of long-range debt-cannon to encumber innocent people with interest-only payments on shit they truly don’t need.
But the official music video for the track is really a trip, especially on weeeeed…
Maybe it’s a stretch to assume that Stefani is referring to sparking a bowl, a blunt, or a joint in the song, but it sure wouldn’t be the first time that cannabis has made a cameo in her lyrics.
In a 2004 song called “Luxurious”, Stefani sings:
“Cha-ching, cha-ching! We get hooked up with the love cuz we grow it
Cha-ching, cha-ching! We got hydroponic love and we’re smokin’
Cha-ching, cha-ching! We burn it you and I, we are so lit!”
It was ten years ago, so nobody would blame you if you forgot, but now Stefani is back in the studio, on the stage, and all over the media with her new single and the same sweet Orange County swagger.
2014’s “Spark the Fire” might not come right out and say it, but besides the Lighter/Fire hook laid out above, it features cannabis infused lyrics throughout like:
I’m coming down, ooh, I had a blast
But you know what they say, the high will never last
And continues with…
Hey! Get off my cloud (say what?)
Hey! Get off my style (say what?)
Stay above the crowd (say what?)
Or make your way back down (say what?)
and of course, a hint of peer pressure for good measure:
So much cooler when you do it, do it
(Do it, do it, do it)
Uh! So much cooler when you do it, do it
Now a mother of three boys – one named Kingston, another sharing the middle name of Nesta with Bob Marley – Stefani looks and sounds as great as ever. But with all of the choices for artists and songs to use in their ad campaign, MasterCard has put their full confidence in the ex-lead singer of a band called No Doubt.
Even after a proclamation in August of 2013 by the U.S. Department of Justice that they would not use federal law enforcement to interfere in state-instituted cannabis laws, MasterCard and other major credit card providers have abstained from announcing a clear position on the matter.
Some, like American Express, have outright said that they will continue to hide behind federal laws and prohibit the use of their services for any known cannabis-related transactions.
With last week’s decision in Congress to essentially defund any federal intervention into state marijuana laws, it will be interesting to see if major creditors like MasterCard will in turn loosen up a bit when it comes to the weed dollar – because surely they, like Gwen, recognize that the weed dollar can be a very good dollar.
A trendsetter since the 1990’s, it would be awesome to see Stefani help to usher in a much needed reform to the way our financial institutions continue to openly discriminate against cannabis.