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Rules for pot ads don't include a ban

I recently had a flight out of the Medford airport and was surprised to see that most of the advertising space in the departure area was taken up by advertising boards for cannabis/marijuana dispensaries and products. I would assume that advertising for cannabis would be regulated much as alcohol or tobacco ads are and was wondering what the rules for advertising such products in a government or government funded building are here in Oregon?

— Paul

Paul, we passed along your question to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, which now also oversees marijuana enforcement, and we heard back from Mark Pettinger, spokesperson for the OLCC's Recreational Marijuana Program.

Right out of the gate, he noted, "As you know, Oregon’s constitution provides great latitude in free speech, and that applies to recreational marijuana advertising, too."

That's not to say there are no rules, he noted. Those rules include:

  • Advertisements cannot show the use of cannabis.
  • Ads can’t make it appealing to children, including having advertising reach an audience made up of more than 30 percent minors.
  • Ads need to include three warnings: Don’t operate a vehicle; users must be 21 and over; and marijuana must be kept out of reach of children.

Other rules in OAR 845-025-8040 include that ads cannot assert that marijuana items are safe or otherwise make claims that any government agency endorses or supports marijuana. They also can't make claims that marijuana has curative or therapeutic effects.

As for comparison with alcohol and tobacco rules, Pettinger said it's there's not a significant difference in rules for alcohol and pot. Tobacco advertising is heavily regulated or, in many cases, banned, by the federal government.

— Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.