State revises advertising rules for marijuana
The Montana Department of Revenue revised proposed regulations regarding marijuana advertising that raised eyebrows at dispensaries, growers and others in the state’s burgeoning adult cannabis industry.
This summer, the department conducted a comprehensive rulemaking process ahead of the January 1, 2022, Montana recreational cannabis market opening. While voters in Montana gave the green light to adult-use marijuana last November and the legislature passed legislation to implement the program earlier this year, it was up to state bureaucrats from the Department of Human Rights. revenues – who will oversee both the new recreational market and medical marijuana. system previously managed by the Department of Public Health and Human Services – to sort out the details.
While the legislature put various safeguards on legal cannabis during this spring’s session, stakeholders in Montana’s marijuana industry were not happy with some of the DOR’s proposals earlier this year. A rule under consideration would have restricted the size of signs outside dispensaries and required signage to include a lengthy warning about the intoxicating effects of marijuana and the potential for addiction, among other warnings. Another reportedly banned dispensaries from advertising. Pepper Petersen, president and CEO of the Montana Cannabis Guild, which represents growers and dispensaries statewide, called the proposals “a drastically conservative interpretation of the law.” In August, he said his group was ready to sue the state over these rules.
More than a month later, Petersen’s tone changed after the state released a revised set of proposed rules earlier this week.
“These are much more reasonable,” he said of the revised rules. “They answered a lot of our concerns. “
Under the new rules, dispensaries will be able to promote their business through advertising and market their brand. However, dispensaries cannot specifically advertise marijuana products except in online advertisements. The state has also eliminated what some dispensary owners see as a set of binding rules that would have required dispensaries and other marijuana-related businesses to post a lengthy warning about the drug. Warnings will no longer be required on dispensary signage, but dispensary signs will still need to comply with local ordinances.
Marijuana-related businesses that have a website will need to use appropriate measures to verify that people visiting the webpage are at least 21 years old, just as breweries and distilleries are required to do. Social media accounts will also need to be private and must contain a notice on the main page that only people 21 years of age or older can follow the account.
The public can comment on the revised rules until 5 p.m. on September 20. Comments can be sent to Todd Olson, Department of Revenue, Director’s Office, PO Box 7701, Helena, MT 59604-7701 or by email to todd.olson @ mt.gov.
Montana Revenue Authority public information official Czelsi Gómez said this week the state was “on track” to open up the recreational cannabis market for adult use as planned on January 1, 2022.
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