In recent years, the legal status of cannabis has shifted across much of the United States. Currently, 26 states and Washington, D.C. have legalized it in some form, with another three states set to join them with the passing of medical marijuana legislation. Legalization has opened a range of business opportunities, but in California, promotional products may not be among them if Senate Bill 162 becomes law.
Senate Bill 162 would prohibit cannabis-related branding on promotional products and limit its broadcast on radio, television, print and digital communications to areas were at least 71.6 percent of the audience can be reasonably expected to be 21 years of age or older. The bill is in response to concerns over marijuana-related advertising’s availability to those under 21.
The state senate’s Committee for Business and Professions passed Senate Bill 162 on June 27 and it has now moved to its Appropriations Committee. In November, California voters passed Proposition 64, which legalized recreational marijuana in the state.
The bill states, “A licensee shall not advertise medical cannabis or medical cannabis products through the use of branded merchandise, including, but not limited to, clothing, hats or other merchandise with the name or logo of the product.”
Also, “A licensee may distribute branded merchandise with the company’s logo, only if different from the name or logo of its product, at an industry trade show or other similar venue where the attendees are required to be 21 years of age or older.”
Marijuana industry advocates and business owners have pushed back against the proposed legislation, noting that it would hamper business’ advertising and branding.