Assembly member Patrick O’Donnell (D-Long Beach) decided late last week to pull legislation that would have made newspapers and other media liable for cannabis advertisements placed by advertisers who are not in compliance with cannabis laws.

The bill, AB 3330, would make a violation a public nuisance and subject a violator to a criminal penalty as well as a civil penalty of up to $30,000. 

CNPA, the California Broadcasters Association and the California State Outdoor Advertising Association are all opposed to the measure. 

The bill was brought to Assemblyman O’Donnell by the Long Beach City Attorney’s office which was finding it difficult to prosecute advertisers who conducted business on the black market and did not comply with the standards established for the legal cannabis industry. 

The situation allowed illegal operations to sell products directly to consumers without proper regulation, in violation of local ordinances, and ignoring public health and safety standards for the content of their products. 

Opponents worked with O’Donnell’s office on amendments that would exempt their respective industries from liability but the author decided to pull the bill at the last minute to engage in more thoughtful and comprehensive discussions next year.