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California Marijuana Advertising Regulations

Jul 19 2017, by Jessica McElfresh in Legal Blog, Marijuana Business

If you’re a cannabis business owner, you know that one of the best ways to attract clients is to advertise. But with cannabis being such a controversial product, the regulations applying to marijuana business advertising are very strict and complicated. Before you take out an ad in a newspaper, or buy radio or television slot, you should carefully read all applicable regulations and make sure you’re on the right side of the law.

Better yet, you can retain the services of a San Diego cannabis business lawyer to help you navigate the complex regulations that apply not just to the advertising of your marijuana business, but also its day-to-day operations. At McElfresh Law, we have a proven track record of helping Southern California cannabis business reach their goals. Call us today at (858) 756-7107 to schedule a consultation.

How Do I Legally Advertise My Cannabis Business in California?

Proposition 64, also known as the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, lays out many restrictions on cannabis advertising in the state:

  • Any advertisement must accurately and clearly identify the business.
  • No billboards featuring cannabis are allowed on a highway or interstate that crosses the border of neighboring State.
  • Ads cannot target anyone under 21 years of age.
  • Promotional materials cannot use language, music, gestures, symbols, graphics, characters, or any other content associated with people under 21 years of age.
  • No billboard or signs advertising cannabis may be placed within 1,000 feet of a youth center, daycare, or school.
  • Businesses cannot give away cannabis or cannabis accessories as a promotional tool.
  • No TV or radio ads can be placed in a slot where less than 71.6 percent of the audience are over 21 years of age, as determined by reliable and up-to-date audience composition data.
  • All advertising statements must be true and substantiated.
  • Any direct marketing campaign or materials must accurately confirm the age of its targets before entering into communication with them.

What About Federal Laws?

According to the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), it’s a felony to “place in any newspaper, magazine, handbill, or other publications, any written advertisement knowing that it has the purpose of seeking or offering illegally to receive, buy, or distribute a Schedule I controlled substance.” This offense is punishable by up to four years in prison.

Another part of the CSA reads: “It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly or intentionally use the Internet, or cause the Internet to be used, to advertise the sale of, or to offer to sell, distribute, or dispense, a controlled substance where such sale, distribution, or dispensing is not authorized by this subchapter.”

Until now, the federal government has not prosecuted anyone for publishing cannabis advertisements in states where it’s legal. In 2011, United State Attorney Laura Duffey of San Diego alluded to the possibility of cracking down on local newspapers running cannabis advertisements, but nothing came of her threats. But under the direction of the new Attorney General, the Department of Justice may adopt a new policy and begin to enforce these rules.

At McElfresh Law, we closely follow all changes to local, state, and federal laws that might affect our clients. Our goal is to give our clients the keys to successfully open and grow their California cannabis businesses. If you want to talk to an experienced California cannabis lawyer, call us today at (858) 756-7107 to schedule a consultation.

California marijuana laws change frequently. For updated information, see the following pages: Medicinal Uses of Marijuana and Recreational Marijuana Business