Mar­i­juana panel ap­proves ban on most cannabis ad­ver­tis­ing

The Capital - - NEWS - By Doug Dono­van

The Mary­land Med­i­cal Cannabis Com­mis­sion voted unan­i­mously Thurs­day to ban bill­board, ra­dio, TV and most on­line ad­ver­tis­ing by mar­i­juana com­pa­nies — a move that rep­re­sen­ta­tives for the firms said they would fight in the Gen­eral Assem­bly when it con­venes next month.

The new rules also pro­hibit ad­ver­tis­ing in print pub­li­ca­tions such as news­pa­pers and mag­a­zines that can­not prove that 85 per­cent of their au­di­ence is over 18 years old, and bans the use of leaflets or fly­ers in most pub­lic and pri­vate places.

In ad­di­tion, the reg­u­la­tions state that in­ter­net ads must be ac­com­pa­nied by an age-ver­i­fi­ca­tion page that users have to an­swer, a hur­dle that cannabis of­fi­cials say essen­tially pro­hibits on­line ads be­cause there is no way to ver­ify ac­cu­rate ages.

The com­mis­sion’s move, which would not go into ef­fect for sev­eral weeks, comes just as the in­dus­try is rapidly grow­ing. The com­mis­sion’s ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, Joy Strand, re­ported at the meet­ing that the state’s 71 cannabis stores have sold $96 mil­lion in prod­ucts to Mary­land res­i­dents since last De­cem­ber.

With­out ad­ver­tis­ing, in­dus­try of­fi­cials worry about the abil­ity for cannabis com­pa­nies to ex­pand their busi­nesses.

“This a to­tal ban on ad­ver­tis­ing,” said Mackie Barch, chair­man of the Mary­land Whole­sale Med­i­cal Cannabis Trade As­so­ci­a­tion. “So­cial me­dia is our only source. How do we com­mu­ni­cate with any­one when In­sta­gram is shut­ting down ev­ery cannabis-re­lated ac­count there?”

Jen­nifer White, a com­mis­sion spokes­woman, said the com­mis­sion’s pol­icy com­mit­tee rec­om­mended the new reg­u­la­tions to mir­ror re­stric­tions against the ad­ver­tis­ing of to­bacco prod­ucts.

It is un­clear when the ban would go into ef­fect. White said the at­tor­ney gen­eral’s of­fice still has to re­view the reg­u­la­tions and that, pos­si­bly, the Gen­eral Assem­bly would have to vote on them.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.