Here’s the introduction to the piece
Cannabis advertising alone is a regulatory concern, and in-house counsel should play a role in their company’s advertising policies to avoid hefty fines and other consequences, according to in-house and law firm lawyers who practice in the growing cannabis industry.
“It’s a heavily regulated industry, and advertising is one of the most regulated aspects of this industry,” said John Moynan, general counsel of Organa Brands.
Cannabis remains illegal on the federal level, and every state where it is legal has a different take on advertising. However, there are some fundamental principles that each state agrees on that can serve as a starting point.
“Typically they surround concepts like you can’t put together ads that make [cannabis] appealing to children,” Moynan explained. “You’re not allowed to target out-of-state consumers and they can’t be accessible to children underage. Those are the big fundamental concepts that you see across state markets.”
Jennifer Briggs Fisher, a partner and team lead of Duane Morris’ cannabis industry group in San Francisco, said she believes the in-house legal department and outside counsel should make sure advertisements remain compliant. But the legal department does need to be constantly looking over the shoulder of the advertising department, she said, with the legal department helping develop a plan that keeps the company in compliance with the law and makes business sense.
“An important first step would be to have an introductory call or workshop with advertising to let them know these are the general parameters,” Fisher explained.
Jean Smith Gonnell, general counsel of STWC Holdings Inc., said another important part for the legal department to look for on an advertising label is if a product says it is safe or it was tested at a safety testing facility. She also said making misleading statements about the legality of a product will catch the attention of regulators.