This Monday, the newly-minted Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission (the “Commission”) kicked off six days of public hearings across the Commonwealth in anticipation of the rollout of new marijuana advertising restrictions that will become effective this spring.

What are some of the key provisions contained in the draft regulations?

Massachusetts Marijuana Advertising Regulations and Hearings

In December 2017, the Commission unanimously approved extensive draft regulations for the purpose of implementing the adult use of marijuana in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Among many other things, the proposed regulations would restrict the means within which marijuana cultivators, testing laboratories, manufacturers, retailers and other operators in the cannabis space may:

  • place marijuana advertising:
    • on television and radio;
    • on websites (especially with respect to age verification) and pop-up ads;
    • in print publications;
    • on billboards and illuminated signs;
    • on clothing, cups/drink holders and other promotional items;
    • at charitable, sporting and similar events;
    • that use models or illustrations that portray anyone less than 21 years of age;
    • that includes product pricing; or
    • that is “improper” or “objectionable;”
  • display sample product;
  • offer giveaways, coupons and free samples; or
  • use radio and loudspeaker equipment.

The Commission “expects to promulgate the final regulations by March 15, 2018 allowing for the first license applications to be available at the beginning of April.”

Protect Yourself

Massachusetts’ rollout of marijuana advertising is not an isolated occurrence. Similar marijuana advertising restrictions have been enacted across the country, including in Alaska, California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Maine, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. As such, manufacturers, retailers and other businesses operating in the cannabis space should be sure to speak with an experienced marketing attorney before commencing any marijuana advertising campaign.