Insights
Publications

Cannabis Advertisements Prohibited on California Interstates and State Cross-Border Routes

January 28, 2021 Articles

You may have recently received a notice from the Bureau of Cannabis Control, the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and/or the California Department of Public Health regarding billboard advertisements featuring cannabis products and services. The notice was sent pursuant to a recent court decision that determined California law prohibits certain advertising of cannabis products and services.

California’s cannabis law, Medicinal and Adult Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act, Cal. Bus. & Prof. C. § 26152, specifically prohibits "advertis[ing] or market[ing] on a billboard or similar advertising device located on an interstate highway or on a state highway which crosses the California border." But the state Bureau of Cannabis Control had issued a regulation, Cal. C. Reg. § 5040(b)(3), that limited the prohibition on such advertising to areas within fifteen miles of the California border.

This month, the California Superior Court in San Luis Obispo County ruled that the bureau’s regulation is invalid as conflicting with the law under which the regulation was promulgated. Farmer v. Bureau of Cannabis Control, San Luis Obispo Super. Ct. No. 19-cv-0597. As such, the fifteen-mile radius limitation is no longer in place, and cannabis advertising is thus prohibited anywhere on interstates and California state highways that cross the California border into another state. Because of the broad definitions included in California’s cannabis statute, there is no exception for educational or other non-commercial messages.

The decision is subject to appeal on various grounds, including that the limitation is an overbroad limitation of speech and that the plaintiffs in the action had no standing to challenge the regulation. There is no current information on whether there will be such an appeal. 

Affected businesses must consider the associated risk with non-conforming activity. To assume the least risk, cannabis businesses should not prepare any new advertising for, and should immediately consider the removal of existing billboards and other advertising from, such locations, which would include some areas where such advertising is currently common (e.g., along US-101 in San Francisco and Los Angeles, I-80 in Oakland and points east, and I-5 in various places).

We would be happy to discuss the risks associated with your particular situation, and will also keep you updated regarding developments on this subject through future alerts.

Firm Highlights

News

Election Brings Questions for Cannabis SPACs

Drew Goodwin commented in The Deal article "Election Brings Questions for Cannabis SPACs."

Read More
Publication

Cannabis and Hemp-Derived Products Subject to New Proposition 65 Warning Requirements in California

California’s regulatory framework for cannabis and hemp-derived products, including CBD, continues to evolve, most recently via updated Proposition 65 warning requirements that came into full effect Jan. 3, 2021. As of that date, anyone...

Read More
Publication

Cannabis IP: Using Intellectual Property to Protect Your Assets and Grow Your Business

Nate Garhart and Ashley Roybal-Reid discuss "Cannabis IP: Using Intellectual Property to Protect Your Assets and Grow Your Business." Intellectual property (IP) is a critical issue in the cannabis industry. Creating and protecting cannabis products...

Read More
News

Jeffrey Hamilton Named a 2021 Leadership Council on Legal Diversity Fellow

Read More
Event

New Proposition 65 Warning Requirements for Cannabis and Hemp-Derived Products

Donald Sobelman and Wendy Hernandez will discuss "New Proposition 65 Warning Requirements for Cannabis and Hemp-Derived Products." Proposition 65 requires “clear and reasonable” warnings in California for products containing chemicals on the State’s list...

Read More
Publication

Cannabis Industry, Including CBD Products, Subject to New Proposition 65 Warning Requirements

Updated Proposition 65 warning requirements for cannabis products came into effect on January 3, 2021. As of that date, anyone offering for sale cannabis products in California—including hemp-derived CBD products—must provide an appropriate warning...

Read More
Publication

Alternatives to Bankruptcy in the Cannabis Sector

Recreational or medicinal cannabis is now legal in 35 states and the District of Columbia. But cannabis is still a  Schedule I controlled substance  under the federal Controlled Substances Act, which presents a host...

Read More
Publication

SB 67 Moves California’s Cannabis Appellations Program Forward

In February of 2020, the California Department of Food & Agriculture (CDFA) issued its first iteration of the Cannabis Appellations Program (CAP) , which set forth proposed regulations for licensed cannabis cultivators to establish...

Read More
Publication

SEC Expands Definition of “Accredited Investor” – Here Are 5 Key Takeaways

The SEC recently adopted amendments to Rule 501(a) of Regulation D of the Securities Act of 1933 that expand the definition of “accredited investor” by adding new categories of eligibility based on professional knowledge...

Read More
Publication

Top 10 Practical Business Implications Arising From the Passage of the CPRA

California’s Proposition 24 passed as expected, and the new California Privacy Rights Act will change the privacy landscape created by the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA), which went into effect only months ago. While...

Read More