A Stop Sign For Pot Signs

Los Angeles is regulating the advertising of cannabis products and storefront signs to protect children from the drug. Photo: Sam Catanzaro.

Los Angeles passes rules regulating cannabis advertising.

By Sam Catanzaro

On June 13, Los Angeles City Council passed an ordinance that regulates the advertising of cannabis products.

“Regulating commercial advertising of Cannabis, Cannabis Products, and Cannabis Activity is a reasonable and necessary means to protect and promote the general welfare of the children and minors of the City of Los Angeles,” wrote the Deputy City Attorney Kenneth T. Fong in the ordinance City Council passed. “Children and minors deserve special concern because they lack the ability to assess and fully analyze the information presented through advertising.”

Under these rules, all forms of cannabis advertising are prohibited in any publicly visible location within 700 feet of any school, public park, public library, alcoholism or drug abuse recovery or treatment facility, day care center and permanent supportive housing.

“Signs which can be seen from the outdoors are a unique and distinguishable medium of advertising, which subject the general public to involuntary and unavoidable forms of solicitation,” City Council wrote in the passed motion.

The only exception is inside the premises of a building where the occupying business is licensed to engage in cannabis activity or on commercial vehicles used exclusively for transporting or delivering cannabis.

“I do not believe the intent of the voters’ overwhelming support of Prop 64 and Measure M, was to dramatically expand the market of Cannabis users or to allow Cannabis companies to freely advertise across the City,” wrote City Councilmember David E. Ryu.

Under the rules, all forms of cannabis advertising are prohibited within 700 feet of any school or public park. Photo: Sam Catanzaro.

In addition to regulating off-site cannabis advertising, the ordinance passed by City Council also adds rules to storefront cannabis signs. Under these regulations, a business engaged in cannabis activity can only have one on-site sign per street frontage. Furthermore, portable signs, sandwich signs, digital signs, spinner signs, pole signs, marquee signs, roof signs, moving signs and supergraphic signs are prohibited.

“The purpose of the ordinance is to help keep advertising of cannabis and cannabis products away from children, who are more impressionable than adults, who are more likely to develop an addiction to cannabis, and whose developing brains will sustain greater permanent damage from the drug,” wrote David Michaelson, the Chief Assistant City Attorney in a report to City Council.

The California legislature is also considering a measure that would add additional restrictions to cannabis advertising in the state. If passed, it would prevent advertising within 1,000 feet of schools, playgrounds, daycares and youth centers while forbidding advertising of cannabis and cannabis-related products “in a manner intended to encourage persons under 21” to use the drug.