Denver Bans Public Medical Marijuana Advertising

The Denver City Council is blatantly ignoring pleas from dispensary owners and medical marijuana patients and are in the process of banning all outdoor medical marijuana advertising in the city.

Their plan, “CB12-0586” violates the rights of business people who are trying to promote their legal products.

According to the Denver Westword, the ban would only allow one sign displaying the dispensary’s name on the building.  Nothing else is allowed on the building or in the public lot, or in any way visible to the public, even the windows from the inside.  It also includes leaflets, and possibly T-Shirts and bumper stickers that have been in rotation.

Their original proposal only targeted school areas and parks.

So far, print advertising has been spared, so long as it includes the statement:  “For registered Colorado medical marijuana patients only.”

Most of those who attended the latest council meeting were against the proposal, including the Cannabis Business Alliance, the Association of Cannabis Trades of Colorado and dispensary owners.

One of the owners, Kristi Kelly said it violates the rights of patients who need assistance in finding the medication.

“Thousands of patients have yet to find that relief because of this stigma,” she said.

The ban was intended to eliminate ads believed to target the general population, and assert that medical cannabis would be an option for anyone, not just patients who have been prescribed cannabis as a treatment.

It states, “Medical marijuana advertising that uses the same techniques and media utilized to advertise products and services that are available for sale to the general public is inherently deceptive, because such advertising obfuscates the fact that marijuana is not lawfully available to consumers in the same manner as other products and services are, and creates the false impression that the sale of marijuana may be available for non-medical uses.”

Unions MMIG and UFCW Local 7, which are made up of dispensary workers are speaking out against the ban, but even those against the ban agreed that something should be done about sign-spinners that have been popping up on major street corners.  But those in opposition of the ban say it should only target the spinners as a problem, and not address advertising on dispensary buildings.

“If you’ve got a product that is unique and has a completely different legal context and legal foundation than other products might have, then regulation might be justified where it might normally not be,” said City Attorney David Broadwell.

Some medical cannabis advocates have threatened to challenge the ban in court.