Will California Unduly Limit Cannabis Branding?

Interesting piece in Marijuana Politics with regard to advertising and branding legislation currently being debated in California

In the next two weeks, by September 15, California’s legislature will end its special session. Before that session ends, legislators will likely have a chance to vote on a bill that would highly restrict branding and marketing in the state which promises the largest legal cannabis market in the world when legalization is set to take effect in 2018.

The measure has traction and is likely to come up for a vote. The bill would put procedures in place to restrict marketing, labeling and “even the shape of pot products.” As expected, it’s all about the children.

According to US News and World Report:

“’This is all about making sure, in the context of the legalization of marijuana, that you don’t end up inadvertently leading so many of our young people into drug abuse,’ says the bill’s author, California state Sen. Ben Allen, a Democrat representing Hollywood. ‘This is about protecting kids.’
“…Allen’s bill is designed to cut off the walking billboards – T-shirts, hats and other swag that provide an indirect avenue for reaching children and teens. It won support from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the California Teachers Association, the California Police Chiefs Association and the child advocacy group Common Sense Kids Action.

“Ultimately, the state’s Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation, working in concert with the state’s attorney general, would be left to provide guidance for the industry, deciding whether a T-shirt sporting a corporate logo and worn by a firm’s employees should be treated in the same way as a lighter, say, bearing a product name.”

I definitely agree that public health and safety, particularly for children, should a top political priority, but I think efforts regarding cannabis could easily overreach in California. I would like to think the agencies listed above can all be trusted with such advisement, but we are talking about institutions which have historically spread misinformation about the dangers of cannabis. Placing cannabis’ political opponents in charge of regulation might not end well for the industry. Just sayin’. The State of California will no doubt feel a pushback in lawsuits arguing for freedom of speech.

Whatever the case, we may begin to have an idea in a couple of weeks when the special session ends, just how branding and marketing will take shape in the Golden State’s new industry.


Cannabis regulations in North County

The San Luis Obispo Planning Commission will need to continue a meeting that took place Aug. 10 to make a final decision regarding the regulation of cannabis activities in San Luis Obispo County. The discussion was held by the San Luis Obispo Planning Commission to provide a ‘think tank’ on a County study on inland and coastal zone cannabis distribution and dispensaries, with amendments to land use ordinance of the county code, including a cap on the number of cultivations sites, and new standards including (but not limited to) setbacks, odor control, screening, water offsetting and security. The Planning Commission had many questions for County Planner Brandi Cummings, who presented the study to the Commission, and the meeting was well attended by approximately 50 people, many of whom spoke up on the pros and cons of limitations during the public comment period.

The Planning Commission’s recommendation will go to the Board of Supervisors for a vote on Oct. 3, but it was decided to continue the meeting on Sept. 14, so that the Planning Commission could have more time to think on the complex consequences of the proposed suggestions before making a final proposal.  

With last year’s passing of Prop. 64, making marijuana legal in California, North County, like many counties in the state, are facing new challenges in the management of cannabis. Because of little data available, planners and supervisors are entering brand new territory.

North County presently has 83 cannabis grows approved out of 89 applications for approval, and 191 out of 291 cannabis grows were approved in the Carrizo Planning area, which includes the California Valley.



South Lake Tahoe likely to temporarily ban recreational cannabis sales

Lake Tahoe welcomed its first recreational cannabis dispensary in Incline Village this July, but as South Lake Tahoe City Council moves toward a temporary ban of retail sales and with Douglas County’s prohibition already in place, it may remain the closest store for South Shore residents — at least for another year.

After a four-hour public workshop on Tuesday, Aug. 29, South Lake Tahoe City Council directed city staff to draft a temporary urgency ordinance for approval at a future meeting. The ordinance would prohibit recreational cannabis retail sales, commercial grows, and edible production for a 45-day period. The ordinance would then require an additional vote to extend the ban for another 10 months and 15 days.