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Medical marijuana ad regs a way for industry to show it's responsible, advocate says

shawn coleman.jpg
Shawn Coleman.
Yesterday, the Denver City Council's Businesses, Workforce and Sustainability Committee voted in favor of an ordinance that would ban medical marijuana advertising within 1,000 feet of schools, daycares, parks and rec centers. It's a proposal Cannabis Business Alliance executive director Shawn Coleman actively supports as a way of preventing larger, more sweeping prohibitions.

As William Breathes has reported, Councilwoman Debbie Ortega first proposed an ordinance focusing on schools and the like, only to have the Medical Marijuana Industry Group to push a total outdoor MMJ advertising ban.

shawn coleman jared polis.jpg
Coleman posing with Congressman Jared Polis.
Here's how MMIG's MIchael Elliott described the organization's views in a statement previously provided to Westword: "As it stands, even our biggest allies on city council remain frustrated with sign wavers and outdoor advertisements for $20 1/8s. Such advertisements unite opposition to medical marijuana, undermine our support, and are largely responsible for the banning of MMJ businesses in Fort Collins and other jurisdictions. As a community, we should decide whether these advertisements are doing more harm than good. Perhaps the best approach would be 'out of sight, out of mind.'"

Coleman feels otherwise. "We're certainly opposed to a citywide ban, and that was a serious threat," he allows. "But we do support limited, targeted regulations. Councilwoman Ortega has worked with the industry, worked with a whole bunch of stakeholders, and [her proposal] was something people felt like they can live with. Not that a 1,000-foot ban wouldn't hurt anyone. But for us to say on the one hand that medical cannabis is a legitimate industry and a legitimate thing people should talk to their doctors about and use if it's recommended, but on the other hand to say we're ashamed to advertise it in the entire city sends the wrong message."

debbie ortega photo.jpg
Debbie Ortega.
For that reason, he sees the current ordinance as "a reasonable compromise. There are folks in the community who aren't quite comfortable with our industry and have some concerns, and this is a way to keep them engaged, since we aren't targeting children. It's not like we're advertising bubblegum. And it's also consistent with the city's existing tobacco ordinance, which is something we recommend in the best practices section of our website -- that you should follow the guidelines for alcohol and tobacco in your marketing and advertising."

In Coleman's view, making the Ortega ordinance work will buy the MMJ industry "a little time to show the city council there's no need for a citywide ban. This is a new industry, a young industry, and there is going to be a learning curve. And at the end of the day, we've got to remember that medial marijuana patients and businesses comprise a very small minority of people and businesses in Denver. Not everyone understands how tightly controlled and regulated this industry is, or how much good medical cannabis does for patients, or the philanthropic work the industry does. They don't have direct contact with that -- so this is a conversation that's going to take some time, and we need to respect that some people just aren't there yet."

Coleman stresses that "a citywide ban could still happen -- but the industry can help prevent it by marketing responsibly. There's an opportunity here."


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10 comments
Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

Reap what ye sow, puerile pot clowns! Marijuana Dispensary Ban Passed by L.A. Committee: Only One Vote Left Before Pot Shops Wiped Out You've heard it before: The L.A. City Council is trying to ban all marijuana dispensaries from the streets of Los Angeles. But things just got real. Councilman Jose Huizar's proposal was solidified into an ordinance today -- meaning only one single meeting on July 22 stands between our current pot-shop utopia and their total extermination. http://blogs.laweekly.com/informer/2012/06/marijuana_dispensary_ban_passed.php

Gerry
Gerry

um, why would the DA let someone off on drug charges, espec. the El Paso County DA? um rhymes with dumb, maybe that's why you keep using it.

Ice Pick
Ice Pick

Um, charges are what the DA decides to press... not what was found in the home.

Ice Pick
Ice Pick

Washington -- Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday defended the Justice Department's pursuit of medical marijuana growers and dispensers, saying they "took advantage" of state medical marijuana laws. Appearing before the House Judiciary Committee, Holder acknowledged the Justice Department had broken with the Bush administration and pledged not to go after anyone acting within state law. Nevertheless, those involved in large-scale marijuana growing and distribution have "come up with ways in which they are taking advantage of these state laws and going beyond that which the states have authorized," Holder said in response to questions from Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y. "Those are the only cases that we have been going after." Nadler pointed out that as a presidential candidate in 2008, Barack Obama had promised that he wouldn't use "Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws on this issue." But since 2009, federal agents and prosecutors have conducted about 200 raids on medical marijuana dispensaries and growers and brought more than 60 indictments, Nadler said. Much of the federal crackdown has taken place in California, one of 17 states (plus the District of Columbia) that have medical marijuana laws on the books. Medical marijuana advocates in California have accused the Obama administration of duplicity in its evolving policy positions. But Holder insisted the Justice Department has limited its enforcement actions "to those individuals (and) organizations that are acting out of conformity ... with state laws." Dan Freedman is National Editor at the Hearst Washington Bureau. E-mail: Dan@hearstdc.com Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/06/07/MND51OULC1.DTL#ixzz1xGjA2QJ0

Ice Pick
Ice Pick

Yea, we're in turn of the century Chicago, right?

Gerry
Gerry

 um, crouse is only being charged with mj possession/distribution. why do you lie?

Gerry
Gerry

 um, you don't have MMC's either. um, show us a license

Gerry
Gerry

 LOL - so naive!

Ice Pick
Ice Pick

Awsome post ... FOLLOW THE LINK JOURNALISTS

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