Gov. Gavin Newsom Says No To Cannabis Billboards Along California's Busy Highways And Byways

It seems that cannabis billboards will not be seen by the millions who drive on California's many highways and byways after all. Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed a bill on Friday that would have allowed cannabis billboards along interstate freeways and state highways that cross state borders, except within a 15-miles radius of another state.

While state regulators adopted rules meant to clarify advertising restrictions along highways in 2019, since January those regulations have conflicted with state law, according to a judge’s order. Moreover, the judge ruled that officials did not have sufficient authority to allow the billboards.

The bill, AB 1302, sponsored by Assemblyman Bill Quirk, addressed the issue while also barring cannabis billboard ads within a 15-mile radius of the state border.

Newsom disclosed in a veto message that the measure would “weaken” protections included in the cannabis legalization ballot measure which was approved in 2016.

“When the voters passed Proposition 64, they enacted robust protections shielding youth from exposure to cannabis and cannabis advertising,” Newsom wrote. “Among other things, voters completely prohibited billboard-based cannabis advertising on all Interstate Highways and on all State Highways that cross the California border. Allowing advertising on these high-traffic thoroughfares could expose young passengers to cannabis advertising.”

The move comes on the heels of Newsom’s approval of legislation that expands the hemp industry in California by legalizing retail sales of hemp-derived consumable products, as well as a bill that requires hospitals and other health care facilities to allow terminally ill patients to use medical marijuana.

Cannabis Billboards Nationwide

In other states that have legalized the plant, such as Michigan, cannabis billboards have their place on the roads, despite a group of state lawmakers who are trying to pull them down.

In the Wolverine State, the billboards are regulated and have all been approved by the Marijuana Regulatory Agency. Still, the display of photos of marijuana products is not permitted.

In Arizona, the bill banning cannabis-related ads on billboards within 1,000 feet of schools, child-care centers, public parks and churches was denied in a 30 to 18 vote. The lawmakers explained that they were worried about passing a bill that would give an advertising advantage to the alcohol industry.

In the meantime, Sacha Baron Cohen, an English actor, comedian, writer and producer, best known as Borat Sagdiyev and Brüno Gehard, recently sued Massachusetts -based cannabis dispensary Solar Therapeutics for using his Borat image on a billboard without permission.

Cohen accused Solar of copyright infringement, false advertising, and the misappropriation of his right of publicity over the billboard and is looking to sough $9 million in damages.

Photo: Courtesy of Pawel Czerwinski on Unsplash

Posted In: Bill QuirkBillboardGavin NewsomSacha Baron CohenCannabisNewsRegulationsPoliticsMarkets

Ad Disclosure: The rate information is obtained by Bankrate from the listed institutions. Bankrate cannot guaranty the accuracy or availability of any rates shown above. Institutions may have different rates on their own websites than those posted on Bankrate.com. The listings that appear on this page are from companies from which this website receives compensation, which may impact how, where, and in what order products appear. This table does not include all companies or all available products.

All rates are subject to change without notice and may vary depending on location. These quotes are from banks, thrifts, and credit unions, some of whom have paid for a link to their own Web site where you can find additional information. Those with a paid link are our Advertisers. Those without a paid link are listings we obtain to improve the consumer shopping experience and are not Advertisers. To receive the Bankrate.com rate from an Advertiser, please identify yourself as a Bankrate customer. Bank and thrift deposits are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Credit union deposits are insured by the National Credit Union Administration.

Consumer Satisfaction: Bankrate attempts to verify the accuracy and availability of its Advertisers' terms through its quality assurance process and requires Advertisers to agree to our Terms and Conditions and to adhere to our Quality Control Program. If you believe that you have received an inaccurate quote or are otherwise not satisfied with the services provided to you by the institution you choose, please click here.

Rate collection and criteria: Click here for more information on rate collection and criteria.