A bill that would hold publications strictly liable for accepting advertisements from marijuana businesses that conduct sales in violation of statutes and regulations even if they have acted in good faith to verify the businesses license prior to placing the advertisement was passed out of the Assembly Business and Professions Committee today on a 12-0 vote. The bill would punish publications for the behavior of advertisers regardless of whether the publisher had knowledge of the advertiser’s compliance status with laws regulating the sale of cannabis.  

The bill, AB 3330 by Assembly member Patrick O’Donnell attaches a $30,000 fine per advertisement and per sale of cannabis that does not fully comply with existing laws and regulations. The author and witnesses in support stated that illegal dispensaries occupy 80 percent of the cannabis industry sales and that cutting off their access to advertisements will stop bad actors from advertising illegal products. 

CNPA and the California State Outdoor Advertising Association testified in opposition to AB 3330. O’Donnell told that committee he recognizes there are flaws in the existing language and that opponents “raised legitimate concerns.” He pledged to work with opponents on amendments that would address those concerns. 

Existing law on advertising requires any marijuana advertisements to contain the business’s license number on the advertisement and to be in a location where the majority of those viewing the ad are presumed to be 21 or older. Existing law properly places the burden for advertising or disclosure violations on the advertiser, not the publication. This bill would set a new precedent and target publications for the actions of the business placing the advertisement. 

This bill will next be considered on the Assembly floor.