California Considers Drug Billboard Ban…Just Kidding! Only Marijuana

Alcohol Billboards

The Sacramento Bee reports that “California considers ban on roadside-billboard marijuana ads“.

State lawmakers are considering legislation – Assembly Bill 64 – that would amend California’s recently passed Proposition 64 recreational marijuana initiative by imposing stricter rules for marijuana advertising.

This is a very, very important issue. Won’t somebody think of the children? Imagine what their precious, innocent eyes would be exposed to if we let purveyors of legal adult drugs to advertise on billboards!

Pretend that fast food, cigarettes, and alcohol aren’t drugs… (Image: KCET.org – A79RTB Malboro Hollywood Beverly Hills California Road Sunset Boulevard)

Proposition 64, which allows adults 21 and over to possess an ounce of marijuana and creates a framework for recreational pot sales by Jan. 1, 2018, banned marijuana advertisements on interstate highways crossing the border into California. The new legislation would extend the ban to prohibit marijuana advertising along any stretch of interstate or state highway in California.

We must act quickly! Every day that we don’t snuff the First Amendment rights of the marijuana industry is another opportunity for them to corrupt our youth with sexualized images designed to entice them into a drug habit!

Mommy, just how much vodka does the lady in red pants drink, anyway?

Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, one of the bill’s sponsors, said the new legislation seeks to fortify Proposition 64 so that marijuana advertisements aren’t seen by minors …  “We want to target adults and patients and not the broader audience that includes kids and carpools and school buses and families.”

The Assemblyman is right. Children of all ages are riding around California’s roadways. We must ensure that they are never exposed to the kinds of messaging that would encourage irresponsible drug use!

I think if you squint just right as you’re driving by at 65 MPH, you can read that “Drink Responsibly” disclaimer at the bottom.

The Los Angeles Times has also reported on this legislation in “Pot ads along highways? Lawmakers wrangle over legalization’s consequences“.

[Bill sponsor Assemblyman Rob] Bonta said. “We feel that all highways, and not just ones which cross state lines, are inappropriate venues for cannabis advertising, particularly as Proposition 64 required an adult audience for advertisements other than billboards.”

Inappropriate is right! Cannabis is a drug that was legalized for adults over 21 only. Legal adult drugs advertised on state highways would just allow the industry to target underage consumers! Who knows what sort of debauched imagery and messaging that Big Marijuana would use to peddle their drug?

Billy Dee is referring to the easy open pop-tab on the can of of Colt 45… of course.

The concept of the bill is supported by Dennis Hathaway, president of the Coalition to Ban Billboard Blight, who said he has concerns about marijuana-related billboards he has seen popping up in Los Angeles.

Hathaway fears the billboards will send a message to young people that using marijuana is fun without addressing the potential negative health issues involved.

There is no limit to how the Big Marijuana companies might try to fool young people into thinking recreational drug use is an activity that popular, healthy adults engage in. They might use celebrity endorsements or try to link the image of their drug brand to popular sports!

Nothing says “peak performance during exhausting athletic activity” like a watered down American beer!

“It’s totally not justified,” [marijuana icon and businessman Tommy] Chong said of the legislation. “It’s stupid. It shows you how ignorant they still are. It’s been proven that marijuana is not only harmless, but it’s good for you. So what are they protecting? Who are they protecting?”

Oh, sure, of course Tommy Chong is going to say the marijuana billboard ban is not justified. He’s trying to build his own business. He wants to get richer selling his own brand of marijuana aimed at the children by promoting how it’s the best marijuana and it is super potent!

C’mon, Milwaukee, we know you can do better than that!

Broadly banning advertisements such as billboards along highways seems to be go beyond what is reasonable,” [said Michael Liszewski, Americans for Safe Access’ director of government affairs], adding “medicinal cannabis is a form of medical therapy and should not be regulated like alcohol or gambling.”

Yeah, some adults may be using cannabis in responsible and/or medical ways. But once we allow some of the marijuana companies to advertise, they’ll all want to advertise, and our children will be exposed to sexist messaging that glorifies a partying lifestyle!

How much for the sheep, though?

Yes, California Assembly, you should muster up the two-third’s majority necessary to pass the law to ensure that the marijuana industry’s ability to advertise on billboards is shut down. It’s all about the children, you see. We must do whatever we have to do to make sure children never see a popular mind-altering adult drug being advertised on the highways!

This message was brought to you by America’s alcohol industry – setting the standard for responsible roadside advertising aimed only at adults for over a century.

Russ Belville
About Russ Belville 191 Articles
Russ Belville - or "Radical" Russ, as he is known on-air - hosts The Russ Belville Show - The Voice of the Marijuana Nation, a two-hour live news and talk radio program for the cannabis community, weekdays at 3pm Pacific on RadicalRuss.com (learn more on our Podcast page).  The show is based in Portland, Oregon, but "Radical" Russ has traveled over 300,000 air miles in the past five years, bringing his show to report live from hundreds of cannabis conferences, marijuana expos, hemp festivals, and legalization events in over 50 North American cities.