Although comedian Tommy Chong’s face was prominent in a freeway billboard near Sacramento for the past couple of months, still it will be coming down now. Why? Because promoting Chong’s brand of marijuana to passing motorcyclists is not allowed now.
According to reports from Los Angeles Times, state legislators are bent on removing these pot billboards from Highway 50 and other Californian freeways. A new campaign, namely Assembly Bill 64, would amend the recently passed Preposition 64 of California, and include stricter rules for marijuana marketing.
Notably, Proposition 64 allows adults over 21 years of age to possess an ounce of marijuana. It also creates a framework for recreational marijuana sales by Jan. 1 2018. Proposition 64 has earlier banned pot ads on Interstate highways crossing the border into California. The newest amendment would extend the ban to prohibit marijuana advertising along any stretch of state highways in California, reported The Cannifornian.
It is to be noted that over the years, pot ads have flooded the sign hovers in Interstate 880 in Oakland and several others in California. In Southern California, the “Buy Marijuana Legally” billboard on the 55 freeway in Santa Ana directs travelers to the Orange County Cannabis Club.
According to Rob Bonta, one of the sponsors of the bill, the new legislation is aimed to implement Proposition 64 so that the pot ads are not seen by minors. Bonta mentions that even when they are targeted towards adults for recreational or medicinal use minors see them, especially if they are prominent enough.
“We have legal adult use and medical use, and we want to make sure that advertising hits the target audience as much as possible and doesn’t slip beyond that,” Bonta said. “We want to target adults and patients and not the broader audience that includes kids and carpools and school buses and families.”
“These aren’t actually people holding licenses,” said Assemblyman Ken Cooley, D-Rancho Cordova, who used to drive by the Chong’s Choice advertisement in his district before it was taken down recently. “I think there is just an aggressive effort to communicate to people about their products and maybe build their brand” before state rules are in place.
Presently AB 64 requires two-thirds majority because it is an amendment to Proposition 64. It also contains proper language, which will play a key role in licensing of pot delivery business. It is to be remembered, AB 64 does not specifically relate to marijuana deliveries though, but it would create two state licenses for marijuana dispensaries. The proposed idea is to have a “storefront dispensary” license for retail providers selling to walk – in customers. It would also have a “nonstorefront dispensary” license for premises that have fixed location but no direct public access.