California marijuana companies are asking Gov. Gavin Newsom to veto a recently passed bill that’s meant to deter children from using cannabis products, claiming the legislation would instead ban many existing brands’ current logos while doing nothing to curb the illicit market.
The California Assembly last week passed Assembly Bill 1207, which prohibits any cannabis product package or label deemed “attractive to children.”
That includes any images of “including, but not limited to”:
Cartoons, toys or robots.
Real or fictional humans.
Any fictional animals or creatures.
Fruits or vegetables, “except when used to accurately describe ingredients or flavorings.”
Any likeness to images, characters or phrases “popularly used to advertise to children.”
“Anything else” that state regulators determine might appeal to someone younger than 21.
The legislation, sponsored by Democratic Assembly Member Jacqui Irwin, easily passed both chambers of the state Legislature and awaits Newsom’s signature to become law.
Supporters of the measure include public-health and children’s advocacy organizations.
Nearly every marijuana industry advocacy organization is opposed to the legislation.
Industry operators say the ban is overly broad and would outlaw existing brands’ benign packaging without punishing illicit operators.
Critics say illicit-market packaging often mimics popular brands of cereal, candy and other snacks – copycatting that’s already prohibited in legal cannabis – that illicit-market operators routinely sell to children.
“As such, (the bill) may inadvertently exacerbate public safety issues rather than improve them,” the California Cannabis Manufacturers Association, California Cannabis Industry Association, Cannabis Distribution Association and the state’s NORML chapter wrote in a joint opposition letter.