Denver bans all marijuana-related signage

By Stephen C. Webster
Wednesday, August 22, 2012 10:47 EDT
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Ads for a medical marijuana shop in Venice Beach, California. Photo: Flickr user Phillip Cowell, creative commons licensed.
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The Denver city council voted unanimously this week to ban all outdoor signage for medical marijuana, in a move that even enjoyed support from a trade group representing many of the city’s licensed dispensary owners.

Many residents complained that medical marijuana ads were a public nuisance and the local media has been filled with photos of sidewalk signs along heavily trafficked areas, billboards promoting dispensaries, fliers being left on cars and even people holding signs on street corners advertising discounts on finely cultivated plants.

The ad ban was supported by the Medical Marijuana Industry Group, which represents more than 50 businesses in Colorado. “We believe it finds the right balance between protecting the interests of both the city and the medical-marijuana community,” executive director Mike Elliott told The Denver Post shortly after the council passed the ad ban.

Councilman Paul Lopez expressed the group’s sentiment even more succinctly on Monday night, saying that unregulated advertising and especially outdoor sign spinners are “making this industry look bad,” according to ABC News affiliate 7 News in Denver.

Members of the council also stressed that the ban would not affect participation in public events like political rallies promoting marijuana legalization, which Colorado will be voting on this November. Businesses will also be able to post signage with their logo at charity events.

Despite some industry support, not all the pot shops are in favor of the ban. The Cannabis Business Alliance and Association of Cannabis Trades for Colorado opposed the ban, saying that they agree on the outdoor sign spinners but feel that self-regulation would be better. “Unfortunately, because of [a] handful [of] business owners using aggressive tactics, the entire industry in Denver has to deal with the consequences,” a post on the Cannabis Business Alliance website lamented.

The ban does not affect print or online advertising.

Photo: Medical marijuana ads in Venice Beach, California. Flickr user Phillip Cowell, creative commons licensed.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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