Hemp CBD Across State Lines: Ohio

The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (“2018 Farm Bill”) legalized hemp by removing the crop and its derivatives from the definition of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”) and by providing a detailed framework for the cultivation of hemp. The 2018 Farm Bill gives the US Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) regulatory authority over hemp cultivation at the federal level. In turn, states have the option to maintain primary regulatory authority over the crop cultivated within their borders by submitting a plan to the USDA.

This federal and state interplay has resulted in many legislative and regulatory changes at the state level. Indeed, most states have introduced (and adopted) bills that would authorize the commercial production of hemp within their borders. A smaller but growing number of states also regulate the sale of products derived from hemp.

In light of these legislative changes, we are presenting a 50-state series analyzing how each jurisdiction treats hemp-derived cannabidiol (“Hemp CBD”). Today we turn to Ohio.

Hemp cultivation in Ohio is regulated by the Ohio Department of Agriculture (“ODA”). Notably, Ohio was among the first states that got a 2018 Farm Bill hemp production plan approved by the USDA. Way to go, Buckeyes! People who want to grow hemp in Ohio will need to obtain licenses from the ODA and hemp cultivated there is subject to testing requirements established by the USDA’s interim hemp rules.

When it comes to Hemp-CBD, the state has not dialed in its regulatory regime. The ODA is in the process of reviewing public testimony before adopting rules affecting the processing of Hemp CBD products. In late 2019, there was a public hearing concerning proposed processing rules that would govern many different types of Hemp-CBD products (as of today, those regulations haven’t been officially adopted). It’s important to note that these rules would not let anyone go and start processing. Instead, licenses would be required and it looks like the state’s requirements will be pretty comprehensive.

The products that the rules would govern include “hemp buds, flowers, cigarettes, cigars, shredded hemp, cosmetics, personal care products, dietary supplements or food intended for animal or human consumption, cloth, cordage, fiber, fuel, paint, paper, particleboard, and any other product.” So basically, anything under the sun. Notably, the rules anticipate the production of Hemp-CBD products (e.g., cosmetics and food) but also anticipate the use of hemp in all kinds of other products that will not be marketed for Hemp-CBD content (e.g., paint and fuel). These rules are therefore extremely comprehensive.

These rules would also impose some strict requirements on manufacture, including pretty standard things that our hemp attorneys see in other states. This includes testing and labeling, to start.

In sum, while Ohio probably isn’t anywhere near the top of the list when people think about states that allow hemp, it’s actually more friendly than a lot of other large states (looking at you California). While states like California are still in prohibitionist mode for all kinds of Hemp-CBD products, states like Ohio are taking the wheel. For more updates on Ohio’s Hemp-CBD laws, stay tuned to the Canna Law Blog.

For previous coverage in this series, check out the links below:

Singapore Asked Netflix to Block Weed-related Shows. Netflix Responded by Doing It.

Film and television, for many of us, were the first places we saw cannabis users humanized.

In a society where we were raised to “Just Say No,” who can forget the positive impact when we saw the joyous, peaceful festivities depicted in Woodstock? Who didn’t laugh at rather than scorn classic pot-smoking teenage comedies like Dazed and Confused or Superbad? Who didn’t abandon their own ‘Reefer Madness’ stereotypes after getting schooled on medical cannabis by Sanjay Gupta’s Weed?

But across the Pacific, one country is working to make sure its citizens see no marijuana in moving pictures. According to a new report released by digital streaming giant Netflix, the company complied with several demands from Singapore’s government that they remove content from their service. That includes three pieces of cannabis-themed programming: Cooking on High, The Legend of 420 and Disjointed.

The other two films were Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ and Brazilian comedy The Last Hangover, which also includes overt drug-use and partying themes. Overall, the company disclosed it has received nine take-down requests worldwide since 2015. As first reported on Feb. 7 by Axios, Netflix promised that it will continue making these requests public on an annual basis. The content removed only applies to the country that requested the ban, and it can still be accessed in other markets.

Singapore is notorious for having some of the harshest drug control laws in the world. Possession of small amounts of drugs is punished severely with up to ten years in prison, a $20,000 fine or both. Trafficking, which differs by quantity based on the substance, is punishable by execution. You can be put to death for having less than a pound of marijuana, for example.

Singapore’s government doesn’t seem to be interested in global trends towards decriminalization and legalization of cannabis or other drugs. “Examples of other countries have clearly shown that a permissive attitude towards the use of cannabis exacts a high cost on society,” says the national Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB). “Therefore, we have strict laws against the trafficking, possession, consumption, and import or export of illicit drugs, including cannabis and cannabis products.”

Officials have argued that harsh policies coincide with reductions in rates of drug use and substance use disorder. By the CNB’s estimates, “the number of drug abusers arrested each year has declined by two-thirds, from over 6,000 in the early 1990s to about 2,000 last year [2010].” But as to the agency’s claim that marijuana use causes damage to society, available research on the effect of medical cannabis legalization in the U.S. suggests that it does not lead to increased youth use and has a negligible if any effect on people engaging in more risky behaviors such as consuming alcohol or tobacco.

Meanwhile, Singapore’s northern neighbor Malaysia has considered decriminalizing small amounts of all drugs in an attempt to treat substance use disorder as a public health rather than criminal issue. Farther north, Thailand has made progress by legalizing medical marijuana last year.

Featured image from Shutterstock.


This article has been republished from Marijuana Moment under a content-sharing agreement. Read the original article here.

The post Singapore Asked Netflix to Block Weed-related Shows. Netflix Responded by Doing It. appeared first on Weedmaps News.

Washington Marijuana Businesses: Watch Out for Cyber Attacks!

One of our Washington cannabis clients recently learned that its employee was the target of a cybersecurity attack. The employee, who was following instructions via a messaging app, wired money to an individual at the request of who he believed to be an owner of the company. That was not the case! The employee had fallen victim to a cybersecurity attack. Our client has asked us to publish this post as a public service announcement to other cannabis businesses.

These attacks are becoming more and more prevalent as we continue to communicate online. In this case, the employee was a victim of “phishing,” which is a scheme where a fraudster impersonates another person to induce individuals to reveal information or, in this case, send money. Other cybercrimes include data breaches, where hackers obtain sensitive information by breaching a company’s secured files and then use that information for identiy theft, blackmail, or to commit other crimes.  Cybercriminals can operate across the globe meaning that anyone online can quickly become a target. Marijuana businesses in Washington State (and elsewhere) need to be aware of the risk of cyber attacks as we enter a new decade.

No industry is safe from the threat of a cyber-attack or other security incidents relating to technology. However, nefarious online fraudsters may see a unique opportunity in the marijuana industry. Marijuana businesses generally have a lack of access to traditional financial services and therefore deal with a lot of cash. By way of example, compare a restaurant to a marijuana business. A restaurant is inevitably going to deal with cash. Diners may pay an entire bill using cash or may leave a cash tip after charging their meal. But, it’s unlikely that a restaurant’s owner will pay its employees and vendors in cash. Most restaurants also don’t require that their customers pay only in cash.

Now consider a standard marijuana business. Washington’s recreational marijuana market is one of the oldest in the country and many marijuana businesses in Washington can obtain a checking account. However, marijuana retailers are generally operating on a “cash-only” business model as credit card companies like Visa and Mastercard will not process transactions that involve the sale of federally illegal substance. That means retailers often have large amounts of cash to deal with each day. Some of that cash may go directly to pay producers and processors for products on the retailer’s shelves. Regardless of the type of license, many marijuana businesses often have large amounts of cash at hand.  It is therefore not unheard of for an employee of a marijuana business to field requests that involve wiring cash to a given account or otherwise undertake a transaction that might seem odd in any other industry. Lack of access to financial services has made the unusual normal in the marijuana industry.

Cybercriminals may also be drawn to marijuana businesses due to the illicit nature of marijuana under federal law. As we’ve written probably a million times, marijuana is illegal under federal law. That makes reporting cybersecurity events more challenging due to the risk of self-incrimination. A marijuana business may not want to “make waves” by reporting to federal agencies like the Department of Justice (DOJ) or the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). However, it’s worth noting that the FBI has sought out tips relating to corruption in the cannabis industry. Nevertheless, federal prohibition does, at the very least, complicate the ability of marijuana businesses to report cybercrime. Those concerns are not as pronounced if reporting to local law enforcement in states that have legalized marijuana.

If you’re concerned about scams, here is a nonexhaustive list of steps that you can take to mitigate cybersecurity risks before they happen:

Internal policies

Adopt or update a policy where employees are to obtain confirmation by phone before sending money to any person outside of the usual course of business. This doesn’t mean that a person needs to check in before paying a known vendor, but would prevent an employee from wiring money based solely on messages or email.

Check usernames and email addresses

If I email someone, my name will show up as “Daniel Shortt” and my email will read “daniel@harrisbricken.com.” Someone who was impersonating me could list their name as “Daniel Shortt” even if their email address was “ScammyMcScammerson@fraud.net.” The same concept is true with usernames. On twitter, my name is “Daniel Shortt” and my handle is @dshortt90. A fraudster could change his or her name to Daniel Shortt with a handle of @dshort90. This is even trickier as my handle is very close to the fraudster’s (my name has two t’s at the end). Employees should be on the lookout for these fake emails and usernames.

Implement a protocol for reporting security events

If you’ve been targeted once chances are you’ll be targeted again, perhaps in a more sophisticated manner. You want to be able to get the news out without exposing your others to security threats. Forwarding an email to another worker just increases the risk of that person clicking on a link to install malware or engaging with a fraudster. Establishing protocols to send screenshots of suspicious messages or forward them to a designated fraud account are some examples of dealing with this issue.

Audit your existing security procedures

This can be done in house or by hiring a consultant or attorney. If you don’t have a security protocol in place, that’s an even bigger reason to audit your company’s operations. That way you can identify risks before they happen.

Protect your passwords and other sensitive information

You may want to require that your employees use multi-step authentication software when signing into company accounts. This usually requires that a person confirm their login on a separate device such as a smartphone app or link sent via text. Make sure your employees are not sending passwords through email or messaging services. Passwords should also be complex and changed regularly.


If you do fall victim to a cybersecurity attack make sure to respond quickly and notify others in your organization about the threat. You should also reach out to your organization’s lawyer or in-house counsel to discuss next steps, which may include reporting to law enforcement.

Friday, February 14, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Friday, February 14, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Los Angeles County expunges 66,000 marijuana convictions in a day (Leafly)

// Aurora Cannabis reports steep loss, production drop, and higher costs (Marijuana Business Daily)

// California unions ask state’s Democrats to shut out major cannabis trade group (Marijuana Business Daily)


These headlines are brought to you by Atlantic Farms, a Maine-based multistate cannabis business with operations in Maine and Massachusetts. Atlantic Farms is looking for people to help it grow and evolve as investors. Open up TheAtlanticFarms.com for more on the company and email info@theatlanticfarms.com to learn about investment opportunities.


// Baker’s anti-stoned driving bill is dead- but marijuana cafes and employee protections move ahead in Legislature (Boston Globe)

// Scientists Find Aluminum Cans Suck Cannabinoids Out of Infused Beverages (Merry Jane)

// Taxes a big factor behind the financial woes of California marijuana companies (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Scotland Opens First Medical Cannabis Clinic to Treat Chronic Pain (Merry Jane)

// A Psychedelics Company Is About to List on a Public Stock Exchange (Merry Jane)

// California ‘vape art’ exhibit flashes bright light on waste issue (Reuters)

// Las Vegas dispensary offers free joints to Nevada primary voters (Leafly)


Check out our other projects:
Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement.
Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

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Photo: Daniel Gillaspia/Flickr

The Four Basic Labeling Requirements for CBD Products

Last week, I attended Portland’s Hemp CBD Connex, an annual event that highlights the vast potential of hemp and CBD.

Of interest to me–because my practice focuses on the regulatory framework of CBD products–was a panel entitled “Weeding Through the CBD Jungle: How to Grow, Run and Be Successful.” This panel was led by two experienced industry leaders: Stuart Bennett, VP of Contract Manufacturing for Canopy Growth, and Alex Rullo, Executive VP of Strength of Hope. Both panelists discussed the dos and don’ts of selling and distributing CBD products in interstate commerce and stressed the importance of complying with the CBD laws of each state in which a product is sold. This was music to my ears!

As you already know if you follow our blog, the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) has taken the position that CBD-infused foods and dietary supplements cannot be lawfully sold or marketed in the United States. Yet, states have adopted their own approaches to regulating CBD products that are not necessarily consistent with the FDA’s current position.

Some states, including Colorado and Oregon, allow the manufacture and sale of all CBD products, including food, dietary supplements, smokable products, and cosmetic products. Other states, like Idaho, strictly prohibit the production and/or sale of any such products. A handful of other states, including California, have banned certain categories of CBD products (usually food and dietary supplements) but seem to take no issue with the sale of other products, such as CBD cosmetics.

In addition, some states that have legalized the sale of Hemp CBD products impose their own regulations, including but not limited to labeling and testing requirements.

As we previously discussed, CBD manufacturers and distributors selling their products in interstate commerce should familiarize themselves with labeling and marketing laws in each state where they plan on placing their products. As a rule of thumb, companies should adopt the most stringent rules, such as those imposed by Indiana, Texas and Utah, to ensure compliance across state lines.

While it’s impossible to cover all state labeling and marketing laws in one blog post, I thought I would provide a brief overview of the label components that have become standard in the industry:

The FDA’s General Labeling Requirements

Every state that authorizes the sale of CBD products also mandates, in one way or another, that the labels of CBD products sold within their borders be labeled in accordance with the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (“FDCA”). Under the FDCA, the labels of any product sold in the United States must contain four basic elements:

(1) An identity statement, which indicates what the product is;
(2) A net weight statement;
(3) A list of all ingredients, which in states like New Mexico and Colorado, must clearly identify hemp and CBD. This requirement makes it difficult for companies that are steering clear from using the term “CBD” in an attempt to mitigate the risk of enforcement action. For more information on this issue, please read here; and
(4) The name and address of the manufacturer, packer or distributor along with their street address.

Scannable Bar Code or QR Code

A growing number of states are mandating the use or a scannable bar code, QR code link or web address linked to a document containing information, pertaining to:

  • the batch identification number;
  • the product name;
  • the batch date;
  • the expiration date, which in some states like Indiana, must be not more than two (2) years from the date of manufacture;
  • the batch size;
  • the total quantity produced;
  • the ingredients used; and
  •  certificate of analysis.
FDA Warning Statement

States like Colorado require that the following statement appear on CBD product labels: “FDA has not evaluated this product for safety or efficacy.”

No Medical or Health Claims

As we have discussed at length, the FDA has limited its enforcement actions against CBD companies that make outrageous and unfounded health claims about the therapeutic values of their products. Nevertheless, many states demand that the labels of CBD products sold within their borders be free of any health claims. It’s important to understand that drug claims don’t need to be explicit. If a company implies that its product can be used to treat a disease, the FDA and local authorities may conclude that the product is a drug.  Consequently, if a CBD company makes any medical, disease, or bodily structure or functional claims or implications about its products, the FDA will likely conclude that the company is marketing unapproved drugs in violation of the FDCA.

Ensuring compliance with the labeling and marketing laws (and policies) of each state in which a CBD product is sold can be challenging, yet it is a crucial step in mitigating the risks of enforcement action by federal and state agencies.

Thursday, February 13, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Thursday, February 13, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Recreational pot bill spurned in New Mexico Legislature (CT Post (AP))

// Vermont Farmers Fear Pot Bill Will Shut Them Out of the Marijuana Market (Seven Days VT)

// Michigan recreational marijuana delivery now only a click away (Michigan Live)


These headlines are brought to you by Atlantic Farms, a Maine-based multistate cannabis business with operations in Maine and Massachusetts. Atlantic Farms is looking for people to help it grow and evolve as investors. Open up TheAtlanticFarms.com for more on the company and email info@theatlanticfarms.com to learn about investment opportunities.


// Medical marijuana bill filed at Alabama State House (ABC 33 40)

// Top Mexican Senator Says Marijuana Legalization Bill Will Be Approved This Month (Marijuana Moment)

// Canopy Growth earnings: When will the weed drinks arrive? (Market Watch)

// Many landlords will take cash from marijuana tenants report says (Marijuana Business Daily)

// L.A. pot licensing delays costing industry millions (LA Weekly)

// Two Pending Bills Could Substantially Change Washington’s Cannabis Advertising Laws (Canna Law Blog)

// Kentucky Lawmakers Approve Medical Marijuana Bill In Committee Vote (Marijuana Moment)


Check out our other projects:
Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement.
Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

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Photo: Ron Cogswell/Flickr

Anatomy of a Cannabis Insurance Policy: Exclusions

Previously I wrote about insurance generally (see here) and products liability insurance specifically (see here). Today I want to look at some policy exclusions to point out potentially problematic terms that you may notice when reviewing your insurance contract during your annual insurance audit.

First, I need to mention some truths that I believe are accurate in the insurance context, based upon my many years of interacting with business clients:

Many business owners never read their policies. Insurance contracts are often dozens or hundreds of pages long. They are complicated, and they are not written like other contracts, which makes them worse to read than a normal business contract. This results in many business owners meaning to read the contract but rarely getting beyond the coverage jacket on the first page of the policy.

Many business owners never have anyone on their team read their policies. Business owners generally intend to (and do) delegate the insurance review and renewal to someone on their executive team, but that rarely results in anyone reading the contract beyond the first page of the policy. Many insurance owners do not want to pay their lawyer to review their policies, so they will often rely on their broker to assure them as to what coverage they have. Because insurance claims arise only intermittently, the importance of the insurance contract seemingly pales when compared to supply and customer contracts that are the lifeblood of the business, so these tend to fall by the wayside until the next annual renewal.

The right insurance broker or agent can be your ally. First, some terminology. An insurance broker represents an insurance buyer, and an insurance agent represents one or more insurance companies. If you are familiar with real estate, you can analogize to the commercial insurance context. An insurance broker is similar to a real estate buyer’s agent, while an insurance agent is similar to a real estate dual agent who represents both the buyer and the seller in a transaction. Each of these individuals can be helpful to you in the right context with the right motivation. An insurance broker will always be your ally because they work for you and can shop your needs around to various insurance companies. An insurance agent is generally “captive” to the company or companies they represent and has to sell you insurance products offered by those companies, but they are still motivated to sell you a good product to keep your recurring business year after year. In both scenarios, you will not know all of the types of policies that are available, even if you are familiar with the basic insurance policies: commercial general liability, employment practices, workers’ compensation, directors & officers, property casualty, product liability, commercial vehicle, business interruption, and key person insurance. It is better to rely on someone within the industry than try to decipher the purchasing process by yourself.

Insurance companies are not your friends. I know many insurance agents and brokers, and many are good people who are motivated to provide good service, but there is a reason why companies hire good, experienced law firms to help negotiate with insurance companies when they want to make a claim for a loss against their policy. I also know many lawyers who work for insurance companies doing “insurance defense work” where they fight hard to help their insurance company clients avoid paying out funds to their insured. It is not pretty to be on either side of the table. But you do not want to try to navigate the technical and complex morass by yourself.

Let’s shift from these general points to the topic of insurance riders:

Insurance riders explained. A cannabis company growing hemp or marijuana will typically obtain a commercial general liability policy in response to a statutory requirement to carry insurance, like this language from Washington:

The licensee shall at all times carry and maintain commercial general liability insurance or commercial umbrella insurance for bodily injury and property damage arising out of licensed activities. The limits of liability insurance shall not be less than one million dollars.

(a) This insurance shall cover such claims as may be caused by any act, omission, or negligence of the licensee or its officers, agents, representatives, assigns, or servants.

(b) The insurance shall also cover bodily injury, including disease, illness and death, and property damage arising out of the licensee’s premises/operations, products, and personal injury.

These broad categories above are, in theory, the items that will arise in the life of a cannabis company, but the ubiquitous insurance riders (contract amendments) chip away at this protection. Your policy will not cover every event on purpose, even if you try to buy the most comprehensive policy you can find. And if you do want to procure a policy that covers every potential event, it will almost always be too expensive for your budget. It is to your benefit to audit your policies and understand what events are and are not covered and know your business well enough to know what events are most likely to arise based upon your business plan.

When auditing your insurance coverage, pay close attention to the insurance riders that appear at the end of most sections of an insurance contract. After reviewing hundreds of pages of insurance policies as part of my due diligence for a recent M&A transaction, I point out the following language from actual insurance policies that may cause the typical cannabis business owner to pause:

  1. This policy does not cover seeds, seedlings, vegetative plants, flowering plants, or harvested material that is not yet finished stock.
  2. This insurance does not apply to bodily injury and property damage arising directly or indirectly from alcoholic beverages.
  3. This [workers’ compensation] policy excludes volunteers and employment practices liability.
  4. This [workers’ compensation] policy does not cover business owners.
  5. This policy excludes nutraceutical substances such as essential oils.
  6. This policy excludes vaporizing devices.
  7. The insured must notify the company regarding a change of ownership. (This is not, strictly speaking, an exclusion like the others above, but it was significant enough that I wanted to include it here.) This clause becomes relevant in the M&A context and is different from the standard change of control language in other contracts (like bank financing agreements) that could impact whether you decide to do a stock deal or asset deal. A change of ownership impacts the covered company’s experience rating, and insurance companies love any excuse to reassess a company’s risk profile, find increased risk, and raise a premium as a result.

Attorneys get paid to deal in details. Often business owners believe they are covered by an event when they really are not, but you have to look beyond the insurance coverage jacket and diagram the effect of your insurance riders. This is why we always recommend a comprehensive insurance audit at least once per year.

For more information on the twists and turns of insurance policies, see the following posts:

Wednesday, February 12, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Wednesday, February 12, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Marijuana Decriminalization Approved By Virginia Senate And House (Marijuana Moment)

// ‘I really love the vibes’: How Yelp boosts black market pot shops (NBC News)

// After a rough 2019 California’s cannabis industry will bloom in 2020 (Leafly)


These headlines are brought to you by Atlantic Farms, a Maine-based multistate cannabis business with operations in Maine and Massachusetts. Atlantic Farms is looking for people to help it grow and evolve as investors. Open up TheAtlanticFarms.com for more on the company and email info@theatlanticfarms.com to learn about investment opportunities.


// 15 months after legalization, 2.8 million Ontarians live in places where cannabis retail is illegal (Global News)

// The writing is on the wall for Vancouver’s handful of illegal cannabis shops (Globe and Mail)

// Oregon Cannabis 2020: Legislative Forecast and Report (Canna Law Blog)

// Marijuana Patient in Pennsylvania Sues State After Being Denied Public Housing (Merry Jane)

// Another Louisiana grower set for initial medical cannabis harvest (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Weedmaps cracking down on illicit Michigan marijuana ads (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Girl Scouts cash in selling cookies outside Chicago dispensary (WSIL TV 3 ABC)


Check out our other projects:
Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement.
Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

Love these headlines? Love our podcast? Support our work with a financial contribution and become a patron.

Photo: Nikita Gavrilovs/Flickr

Two Pending Bills Could Substantially Change Washington’s Cannabis Advertising Laws

Last month, two pieces of legislation were introduced to the legislature that could substantially alter Washington State’s advertising laws: HB 2350 and HB 2321. Each bill would tighten advertising restrictions for cannabis businesses, particularly with regard to advertising that could appeal to youth. Both bills were filed pre-session, and both already have moved into the Committee on Commerce and Gaming. The bills are summarized below.

HB 2350

This bill, “[r]elating to preventing youth marijuana consumption by updating marijuana advertising requirements,” sets forth new advertising requirements intended to reduce youth exposure to marijuana by prohibiting billboards for advertising marijuana. The legislation also seeks to “provide more flexibility for the use of signs and advertisements by marijuana licensees at their licensed premises.”

Existing regulations already prohibit licensees from placing any sign or advertisement for marijuana or marijuana products within 1,000 feet of the perimeter of a school grounds, playground, recreation center or facility, child care center, public park, library, or game arcade that does not restrict admission to persons twenty-one years or older. However, existing regulations also allow for the placement of billboards, which are currently limited to displaying text that “identifies the retail outlet by the licensee’s business or trade name, states the location of the business, and identifies the type or nature of the business.” These billboards cannot depict marijuana or any marijuana products. The purpose of these restrictions is to limit retailers to placing billboard advertisements that provide the public with directional information to the licensed retail store. However, HB 2350 would prohibit all billboards placed by marijuana licensees, regardless of content.

The one concession made in HB 2350 is that the Liquor and Cannabis Board (“Board”) would no longer be able to limit the number or size of on-premises signs or advertisements used by a marijuana licensee at their licensed location.

HB 2321

The second pending piece of legislation, HB 2321, also aims at reducing youth access to all products intended for consumption by adults over the age of 21. Although retailers would no longer be limited to two signs of limited size outside the licensed premises, the Board would be tasked with ensuring that signs are not appealing to youth or those under twenty-one, and sets forth penalty minimums for violations.

This piece of legislation also specifically targets vapor-product retailers, with vapor products not including “any product that meets the definition of marijuana, useable marijuana, marijuana concentrates, marijuana-infused products, cigarette, or tobacco products.”

Regulations around advertising have been constantly evolving since the passage of I-502. The last major regulatory changes surrounding billboard and outdoor advertising went into effect in 2017, when the following restrictions took effect:

  • Licensees are limited to two signs, at a maximum of 1,600 square inches, that are permanently affixed to a structure or building on the licensed premises;
  • Sign spinners, sandwich boards, inflatables, toys, cartoons, movie characters, people in costumes – all prohibited;
  • Signs are limited to identifying the licensee, location, and nature of the licensed business;
  • Signs and logos cannot contain images of plants or marijuana products, including images that indicate “the presence of a product, such as smoke, etc.”

But billboards in particular have long been a source of contention, since meeting the perimeter restrictions is often difficult, especially in densely populated, urban areas. We will continue following the progress of both of these bills, and will update readers if and when a rule change takes place.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Tuesday, February 11, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Marijuana giant Acreage concedes Mass. contracts are ‘inoperable’ (Boston Globe)

// OLCC raises THC limits for some hemp products (Register-Guard)

// Bill would drape secrecy over recreational cannabis (Portland Press Herald)


These headlines are brought to you by Atlantic Farms, a Maine-based multistate cannabis business with operations in Maine and Massachusetts. Atlantic Farms is looking for people to help it grow and evolve as investors. Open up TheAtlanticFarms.com for more on the company and email info@theatlanticfarms.com to learn about investment opportunities.


// How Much Cannabis Each State Sold in First Month of Legal Sales (Cannabis Now)

// Seven Governors Talk Marijuana Policy At Annual Conference (Marijuana Moment)

// Illinois medical cannabis stores granted two-hour sales extension (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Ontario weighs cannabis consumption lounges, special-occasion permits (Marijuana Business Daily)

// California wholesale marijuana flower prices holding steady on lack of licenses, growing demand (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Chart: Arizona’s medical marijuana market marches forward in 2019 with more patients, higher sales (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Virginia House Approves Marijuana Decriminalization Bill (Marijuana Moment)


Check out our other projects:
Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement.
Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

Love these headlines? Love our podcast? Support our work with a financial contribution and become a patron.

Photo: Will Power/Flickr