New advertising and marketing regulations for recreational use and sales of marijuana go into effect on Jan. 1, implementing the ballot initiative, Prop. 64, which California voters passed in November to legalize recreational marijuana.
The requirements, found at Business and Professions Code sections , first clarify that any news reporting or editorial writing that is not paid for by a marijuana licensee does not fall within the ambit of these rules.
The regulations then lay out general guidelines that apply to anyone licensed by the state to conduct business in the cannabis industry. The licensee is responsible for knowing and fulfilling the advertising regulations, and is solely liable for failure to comply with the law.
Nevertheless, even though there is no publisher liability, news publishers should be aware of the requirements. The main regulations relevant to news publishers who place and publish advertising in print and online are:
- Any ad must identify the licensee and include the license number in the ad;
- The ads should be placed in broadcast, print and digital communications where at least 71.6 percent of the audience is reasonably expected to be over 21;
- The ad must be truthful and appropriately substantiated, and shall not be false, misleading, or attractive to children;
- If the ad indicates that the cannabis originated in a particular place or region, it should include an appellation of origin.
Questions about how to handle specific ads may be directed to CNPA’s legal hotline at 916-288-6006.