A bill introduced in California would effectively outlaw medical and recreational cannabis licensees from advertising products “through the use of branded merchandise, including, but not limited to, clothing, hats, or other merchandise with the name or logo of the product.” Non-commercial speech, such as nonprofits, would be excluded under the measure.
According to the bill text, the ban would extend to traditional publications and websites, while direct advertisers would have to verify that ad-recipients are at least 21-years-old. Television ads would be permitted but only when “71.6 percent of the audience is reasonably expected to be 21 years of age or older.”
The proposal, sponsored by Sen. Ben Allen, is designed to ensure that individuals under the legal consumption age are not targeted by cannabis ads.
Adam Spiker, executive director of the Southern California Coalition, a cannabis trade association comprised of Los Angeles businesses, called the ban “ridiculous” saying it effectively prohibits small businesses from advertising.
“The bill would materially hamstring small business owners’ ability to grow in the land of opportunity,” Spiker said in an LA Weekly report. “We are firmly against it, and will work to ensure lawmakers are aware of the harmful ramifications it would have.”
The measure has been approved by the Senate and is being considered by the Assembly. The legalization law approved by voters in November included limits on advertising but were primarily zoning restrictions on where the ads were permitted.