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California Legislature

Effort to limit pot advertising on clothing in California falls short

A bill to limit marketing of marijuana on branded merchandise was killed Friday. (Los Angeles Times)
A bill to limit marketing of marijuana on branded merchandise was killed Friday. (Los Angeles Times)

The pot industry scored a victory in the state Legislature on Friday as lawmakers killed a proposal to ban marijuana advertisements on clothes for young people.

Sen. Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica) had proposed the legislation with the intent to make marijuana less attractive to young people by prohibiting sellers and manufacturers from using merchandise such as clothes and hats to promote their products. 

California voters approved a ballot measure in November legalizing recreational marijuana starting in January.

Opponents of Allen's bill, including the California Cannabis Manufacturers Assn., said such a law would be a financial burden, depriving them of legitimate profits.

The groups argued that the advertisement of medicinal marijuana should not be restricted in the same way as adult-use marijuana. The group wrote that the bill "undercuts a legitimate revenue center for cannabis licensees," and that it impinges on free speech.

Supporters of the bill, including the state chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the California Police Chiefs Assn., believed the measure would decrease marketing to youth.

The Assembly Appropriations Committee, which evaluates bills that will cost a lot of money, put the measure on hold without explanation.

"The Legislature in the past has wisely prohibited advertising with branded merchandise by tobacco companies, expressly because items like hats and t-shirts are known to entice kids to smoke," Allen said. "This was a commonsense measure to apply similar restrictions that would help prevent marijuana use by teens."

1:25 p.m.: This card was updated with a comment from Allen. 

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