The Montana Department of Revenue, which is tasked with overseeing both the adult-use and medical cannabis industry in the state, has proposed draft rules for industry advertising, including a ban on social media ads, KPAX reports. The rules are not final, and the agency will be taking public comments for the next several weeks.
In addition to the ban on advertising on social media, cannabis companies would not be allowed to advertise on TV, radio, or in newspapers. Companies would be allowed to have websites but would have to take “appropriate measures” to ensure people under 21-years-old could not access them.
Cannabis companies would also be prohibited from offering promotional items or sponsoring charitable events or sports, or advertising on billboards, or use banners or flags as outdoor signs, which would have to be attached to a building or permanent structure.
Businesses would be allowed just two outdoor signs—limited to 11 square feet or smaller—which would be required to include disclaimers about the risk of cannabis use.
J.J. Thomas, owner of the dispensary chain the Higher Standard, told KPAX that the state’s advertising rules for the industry—which is currently only medical—“already makes it really hard on businesses to succeed in general.”
“We’re already limited on things we can say, images that we can use, the way websites are accessed, signage on your buildings, and all this stuff. … It sounds like they’re basically taking it down another level to make it even harder than it already is—to the point where we don’t really know, is there anything you can do?”— Thomas to KPAX
If approved, the new Montana advertising rules won’t take effect until Jan. 1, 2022, which is the date that adult-use sales are expected to commence in the state after voters approved the reforms during the 2020 General Election.
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