Colorado- Governor John Hickenlooper (center) talks with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack (right) about how most Colorado schools have produce gardens to educate and supplement the schools nutrition program, during the National Governors Association Education, Early Childhood and Workforce Committee in Washington, D.C., on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012. USDA Photo by Lance Cheung.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

Hickenlooper Signs Bill Banning Cannabis Ads by Unlicensed Entities

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has signed legislation making it illegal to advertise cannabis sales unless the advertiser is a licensed medical or retail cannabis provider, KOAA News 5 reports. The measure is meant to stem so-called gray market producers and sellers from advertising on sites like Craigslist, where many ads offer cannabis in exchange for ‘donations.’

The law, which takes effect in September, covers ads on the Internet, newspapers, magazines, handbills and other printed publications. Violators could be charged with a Level 2 misdemeanor drug charge if convicted.

The new law is the latest in Colorado aimed at stemming the illicit cannabis trade in the state.

In November, the Democratic governor called the gray market a “clear and present danger,” adding that illicit sales were “one of the things [he] worried about in the very beginning.” Last month, the Colorado House gave preliminary approval to a measure that would reduce the number of plants allowed to be grown at a patient’s residence from 99 to 16.

“Anything that the state legislators can do to clear up and eliminate the gray market is definitely beneficial for us,” Sean Mandel, Commander of Metro Vice, Narcotics & Intelligence Division, said in the report.

Currently, Colorado is the only state with legal cannabis that allows homegrows of more than 16 plants.

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