Oregon Bans Marijuana Strain Names Appealing to Children

Outside the dispensary, you can buy Girl Scout Cookies. Not inside.
Girl Scout at Pot Shop
Outside the dispensary, you can buy Girl Scout Cookies. Not inside. (Image: KPIX)

A week ago, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) passed a temporary rule that forbids the use of certain cannabis strain names in the marketing and packaging of cannabis products for sale. Included in the ban are such popular strains as “Girl Scout Cookies” and “Charlotte’s Web”.

(OLCC) The Commission’s current rules allow it to regulate marijuana strain names attractive to minors but not those marketed by minors such as “girl scout cookies”. The action directs staff at OLCC to fairly implement criteria to restrict a narrow set of strain names that refer to cartoon characters, or are names associated with toys and games marketed to or by children. The Commissioners and OLCC staff have reviewed a listing of about 500 marijuana strain names and believes the rule would apply to less than 20 strains.

Because the Girl Scouts sell boxes of cookies that children might like, a childproof package of herb sold in an adults-only store where IDs are checked cannot say “Girl Scout Cookies”, “Platinum Girl Scout Cookies”, or “Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies”.

Because kids are fans of a popular science-fiction movie franchise set a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, the adults who are the only ones allowed in a pot shop set 1,000 feet away from schools can no longer choose “Death Star”, “Skywalker OG”, or “Jedi Kush” from the menu of cannabis buds being offered for sale.

Charlotte's Web
It’s plainly obvious how referencing this children’s book would lead kids to smoke a marijuana strain that doesn’t get you high.

Because children may have read some of the most popular children’s books of all time, people aged 21 and older shopping in a building required to have opaque windows and sell products in opaque packages won’t have the choice of buying “Charlotte’s Web” or “Cinderella 99”.

Because the youngsters grew up watching cartoons, dispensaries whose herbal products are tracked by the state from the planting of the seed to the distribution of the buds down to the last gram can’t be selling flowers called “Grape Ape”, “Dr. Who”,”Bruce Banner”, or “Smurfette”.

Because the little ones played a silly, simple board game, Oregon pot shops can no longer distribute a flower called “Candyland” to the drinking-age Oregonians who were carded for their adult purchase.

Now, it’s not a ban on the strains themselves. You can still sell all the Girl Scout Cookies you like. You just have to rename it or refer to it by its initials.

OLCC also banned strain names that reference illegal drugs, like “Blow”, “LSD”, and “Green Crack”. Because somebody who happens upon a container of herb with those labels on it will be likely to think the state has legalized cocaine and acid and is now infusing cannabis with them.

Now don’t you worry. This need to protect children from pot sellers who aren’t allowed to advertise in mediums where children make up a significant percentage of the audience only applies to the cannabis products that are sold in opaque buildings in opaque containers to adults who’ve had their identification checked. It does not apply to other products that are harmful to children and marketed in a way that’s appealing to them.

Star Wars Happy Meal
Using Darth Vader to sell marijuana is out of the question. He’s booked for fat, sugar, and carbs.

Your favorite adult alcohol products will still be allowed to advertise on the Super Bowl, because kids hate superstar athletes and the games they play. Fast food companies will still offer special packages of salt, fat, sugar, and a kid’s toy, marketed with images from popular super hero movie franchises, because children pay no attention to the latest Marvel or DC characters until they’re used to sell weed. The supermarket cereal aisle will still get to use cartoons to peddle the boxes of sugar and carbs they call breakfast, because youngsters instinctively prefer oatmeal for a healthy breakfast.

 

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.