Weed Billboards Ruled Illegal in California Areas

Weed Billboards Ruled Illegal in California Areas

The cannabis industry is one of the fastest-growing industries known to man. Forbes has projected the cannabis industry to exceed a few hundred billion dollars by the year 2030. Part of the success of the cannabis industry is the unique approach toward advertising their products. Billboards for cannabis companies are extremely conventional in California. However, this form of advertisement for cannabis businesses near interstates in California is about to become diminished based on a recent ruling from a Judge of California’s Superior Court.

Judges brought the gavel down on interstate cannabis advertisement in November of this year, San Luis Obispo Superior Court Judge Ginger Garrett ordered that billboards on interstate highways are illegal under Proposition 64. This is the proposition that allows the adult-use / recreational use of cannabis throughout the majority of the Golden State. The decision nullifies a 2019 ordinance from California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control, or the BCC, that sanctioned billboards advertising cannabis along highways despite crossing state borders. The original ordinance allowed the advertising of cannabis near federal interstates as well as California highways and state roads. The updated prohibition on cannabis billboards will impact nearly 40 highways. Some of the popular highways to be affected include Interstate 80, Interstate 10, Interstate 15, and the infamous Interstate 5. The ruling was likely reached due to Judge Ginger Garrett’s interpretation of the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887. It is worth noting that the recent ruling strictly only prohibits weed billboard ads near and intersecting billboards. This means that not all cannabis advertisements performed with the help of billboards have been outlawed in California.

Interstate Commerce Act of 1887

As aforementioned, Judge Garrett’s decision on the prohibition of interstate cannabis billboards stems from the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887. The act was passed into law due to the overwhelming amount of concern citizens had regarding the wealth and monopolization of railroad companies that naturally stretched multiple states. Furthermore, the act created an agency responsible for regulating interstate commerce and goods, rightfully named the Interstate Commerce Commission or ICC. It would not be until 1903 when the Department of Commerce was established to govern the statutes (and repercussions) revolving around the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887. Although this act was initially intended for railroad companies, countless amendments would see other forms of transportation be prohibited from traveling between states with certain goods. This same act has been used against drug peddlers who crossed state lines.

Timeline of the new ordinance

It is ambiguous when the deadline will be to remove cannabis advertising on billboards near interstates. At the time of this post, the BBC and other affected businesses have not publicized if it will appeal the California Superior Court’s ruling on interstate cannabis billboards.

Cannabis Advertisement outside of billboards

Cannabis advertisement is a very delicate line of work. Aside from this ordinance, there are a multitude of regulations businesses must follow regarding how cannabis is advertised to patients and consumers. Similar to cigarettes, cannabis advertisements cannot be placed on television or the radio. This is an ethical measure performed to safeguard cannabis use from children. Moreover, cannabis adverts cannot appear ‘kid-friendly.’ For example, cannabis products cannot possess vibrant colors or fonts or mascots that would be found appealing to children. With measures such as these, advertising agencies must embody unique processes to ensure cannabis businesses are getting the biggest bang for their marketing budget.

Billboards account for a realistic percentage of advertisements performed by cannabis companies and related agencies. This recent ruling is sure to cut into traffic brought in thanks to cannabis billboards.

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