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Lawmaker Wants To Ban Roadside Marijuana Signs

Assemblyman Scott Gray, R-Watertown, is pictured during a recent thank you dinner for the Chaumont Volunteer Fire Department.

A “Got Weed” sign reminiscent of the famous ad campaign for milk products has prompted a state legislator to propose limits on roadside marijuana advertisements throughout the state.

Assemblyman Scott Gray, R-Watertown, recently introduced A.8200. It would prohibit the display of ads for cannabis unless the ads are by an authorized dealer on the site of an authorized business. Even then, Gray says the sign should only identify the business.

“The rollout Office of Cannabis Management has included many delays, turmoil and confusion. A concern of many New Yorkers is that advertisements of many cannabis products will be geared towards adolescents, including those who may not even be of legal age to possess cannabis or cannabis products. For example, in my district there is a large billboard with a pronounced “Got Weed?” advertisement, closely resembling the “Got Milk?” campaign that was directed towards teenagers.”

According to the Network for Public Health Law, nine of the 16 states that allow adult-use recreational marijuana restrict adult-use cannabis advertising on public property and/or public transportation. Three of those states, including New York, prohibit advertising on public property. Oregon only restricts the distribution of handbills on public property while eight of the states prohibit advertising on public vehicles/mass transit.

Six states prohibit advertising at locations related to transportation. For example, Washington restricts advertising at public transit shelters, bus stops, transit waiting areas, train stations, airports, and other transit related areas

Additionally, three of 16 states, including New York, have general visibility restrictions placed on signs and billboards. Alaska restricts cannabis establishment to no more than three signs that are visible from a public right of way.

Regulations finalized earlier this year by the state Office of Cannabis Management include an outright ban on cannabis billboards for all cannabis businesses except those that conduct retail sales or delivery. Those signs can only be used to alert consumers of the location of the cannabis business, and may only contain the company’s name, address, phone number, e-mail address, telephone number, and the nature of the business.Signs must also be attached to a building or other permanent structure and businesses are only allowed two signs for each business location in operation.

For Gray, those are too many billboards.

“Numerous scientific studies have shown serious effects from marijuana on teenagers brain’s, and this legislation will ensure that products are not advertised in a harmful way, while protecting the rights of authorized establishments to have signage acknowledging the location of their venue. This legislation does not prohibit the signage for retail operations, rather specific product advertising,” Gray wrote.

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