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Now that Recreational Marijuana is Legal, What Should Advertising Look Like?

In California and other states that have legalized recreational marijuana, most TV and radio ads for cannabis are not an option, since it is still illegal at the federal level, and online platforms like Facebook and Google also don't allow the ads. This story by KCRW in Los Angeles examines the current temporary regulations in California that seek to further limit children's exposure to cannabis marketing—and whether those regulations should be taken a step further. The piece includes an interview with PHI's Dr. Lynn Silver, who leads our Getting it Right from the Start: Local Regulation of Recreational Marijuana project, who says she wants to see even stronger regulations in California to protect young people, namely by adding a warning to any billboard, poster or product that a child might see.

Cannabis Billboard

Use of recreational marijuana is now legal in California along with a small number of other states. It is still illegal at the federal level, however, so most TV and radio ads are out of the question, and Facebook and Google don’t allow ads either. That means cannabis companies are focusing their advertising locally—primarily turning to magazines, newspapers, podcasts and billboards to promote their businesses, according to this article and radio segment from KCRW in Los Angeles.

The state of California and some city governments have moved to further limit the cannabis industry’s marketing opportunities. A new law in L.A., for instance, requires cannabis ads to be at least 700 feet away from schools, day care centers, public parks or public libraries. But anyone in a car, regardless of age, is able to see one of several billboard advertisements that have sprung up across the city.

The piece, which focuses on regulations surrounding cannabis marketing to youth and children, includes an interview with PHI’s Dr. Lynn Silver, who leads our Getting it Right from the Start: Local Regulation of Recreational Marijuana project, who says she wants to see even stronger regulations in California.

The state is currently operating under temporary emergency regulations that prohibit companies from overtly advertising to children with pictures of toys or cartoons, and make them prove that just over 70 percent of people who might see their ads are adults. Silver says she wants the state to restrict cannabis advertising the same way it restricts tobacco advertising, however, namely by making companies add a warning to any billboard, poster or product.

“So that if there’s an ad out there for a delicious chocolate chip cannabis cookie, it says prominently, ‘use by young people has been associated with these negative outcomes,’ for example,” Silver said.

Read the full article in KCRW or listen to the full story below.


Originally published by KCRW

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