Prohibiting Marijuana Advertisement in the City of Los Angeles
Posted by Mitchell Englander on August 12, 2016 at 9:07 AM
This week, I submitted a motion asking the City Attorney to report on options for prohibiting the advertisement of marijuana if recreational use is approved by the voters in November, including a discussion of what the City currently does to prohibit alcohol and cigarette advertising.
Although the nation banned tobacco ads on television almost 50 years ago, the upcoming statewide marijuana ballot initiative could allow TV commercials promoting marijuana to air alongside advertisements for cereal and cleaning products. Proposition 64, which is on the November ballot, would allow people age 21 and older to possess and use up to an ounce of marijuana and would allow pot shops to sell cannabis for recreational use. The initiative also includes a provision that could someday allow cannabis sellers to advertise their products in print ads and on digital sites and radio and television stations, but would "prohibit the marketing and advertising of non-medical marijuana to persons younger than 21 years old or near schools or other places where children are present."
Although there are other impediments to marijuana ads hitting the airwaves in California, including the fact that cannabis is still recognized by the federal government as an illegal drug, the possibility that television commercials will someday arise featuring people smoking marijuana is cause for concern that would roll back decades of old anti-smoking advertising protections and would allow marijuana smoking ads in prime time, on programs with millions of children and teenage viewers.
The City needs to prepare to address the issue of marijuana advertising if Proposition 64 is approved by California voters in November.
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-Mitchell Englander, Councilmember Twelfth District
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