California Governor Vetoes Cannabis Advertising, Marketing Bill

But on cannabis he appears to be trying to do something to keep smaller cannabis businesses afloat.

Cannabis Business Times reports

California Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed a bill Oct. 8 that aimed to ban state-licensed cannabis companies from using real or fictional humans, fruits and vegetables, or mythical creatures on their packaging and marketing.

The legislation, Assembly Bill 1207, would have rendered a significant percentage of cannabis products as noncompliant throughout California, essentially crippling many small businesses and costing others as much as six figures to redo their branding. For many cultivators, rebranding in this fashion means disconnecting from their personal stories and generational legacies.

While the author of the bill, Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin, D-Thousand Oaks, argued the legislation was meant to adequately protect children from exposure to the cannabis industry, Newsom said he didn’t see it that way despite the good intentions of the bill.

“While I deeply appreciate and agree with the author’s intent, I am concerned that the definition of ‘attractive to children’ used in this bill is overly broad,” Newsom said Sunday in his veto message. “By prohibiting entire categories of images, this bill would sweep in commonplace designs, and I am not convinced that these additional limits will meaningfully protect children beyond what is required under existing law.”

This executive authority to keep the California Legislature in check was an act that hundreds of industry stakeholders have urged Newsom to take since the bill passed Sept. 14 with an 84% majority in the Assembly and 57.5% majority in the Senate.

Lindsey Renner, owner of Native Humboldt Farms, told Cannabis Business Times last month that she estimated more than 1,500 letters opposing the bill had been sent to the governor’s office. Not only does Renner grow fruits and vegetables on her farm, but part of her brand story is in fact herself: a Native American woman who now grows cannabis on the very land that belonged to her Wailaki Tribe members who were enslaved and forced to relocate during white incursion in the mid-1800s.

Renner, a very real human with a very real story, would have been prevented from using herself in branding, including marketing on social media, where she regularly shares photos of herself with her plants on her native land.

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