MMJ advertising ban: How will it be enforced?

Categories: Marijuana

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How will Denver's ban of all outdoor advertising for medical marijuana businesses -- approved last night in a quick, unanimous vote by Denver City council members -- be enforced? A note sent to councilmembers last week by Tom Downey, head of the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses, gives some clues.

Downey sent the note after last week's council meeting, where members discussed the ramifications of a more stringent ban, rather than the initial proposal, which would have just prohibited MMJ advertising within 1,000 feet of schools and other areas.

Under the measure passed last night, all outdoor advertising is blocked, including billboards, sign-twirlers and leaflets. (Yes, advertising in free papers distributed outdoors is still allowed.)

Here's the e-mail that Downey sent councilmembers:

I wanted to follow up on your enforcement questions, because I don't think my answers were as clear as they should have been, and because the process is applicable to most regulatory and licensing situations. There would be actually two different forms of enforcement for the proposed outdoor MMJ advertising ban.

The first is that any Denver Police Officer or City inspector authorized by the Manager of Safety may issue a citation against someone for violating a Denver ordinance. As David Broadwell explained last night, the penalty falls under the general up-to-$999-and-one year-in-jail provision, unless otherwise specified. The second is that our department may take action against a license by imposing restrictions, suspension, or in extreme cases, revoking the license. These two processes are technically distinct, but may be connected.

An imperfect analogy may be drawn from a traffic violation. If I am caught speeding 8 miles over the posted limit, the Denver Police Officer will issue me a citation. I will end up paying a fine in County Court. The Court will then refer the matter to the State DMV, which will assess a point against my license. If it were a DWI instead of speeding, I could go to jail for the criminal charge, and then separately the DMV could suspend or revoke my driver's license.

The most common situation we face is when the police charge a bartender or waiter with selling alcohol to an underage patron. The DA handles the criminal prosecution, and the DPD then refers the matter to our department for an action against the tavern's license. In a typical first offense case, we would suspend the tavern's license for a few days, including a weekend, and impose a fine.

Another common, but less serious situation would be when an Environmental Health inspector issues a Noise Violation citation against a restaurant. Upon conclusion of the citation process, Environmental Health would refer the matter to us. We will include it in the restaurant's file and check for other matters. If there are no other complaints or violations, we would almost certainly take no action. If there are a series of violations or complaints, we have a number of options. One of our inspectors can simply sit down with the licensee, explain the importance of complying with City ordinances and warn them to discontinue their behavior; we can hold a hearing seek to impose restrictions on their license related to their violations (i.e. - Doors must remain closed to reduce noise, or no dumping of recycling between 9PM and 7AM, etc); or we could seek to suspend their license, or in extreme cases, we could seek revocation. Similarly, violations and complaints, may cause us to hold a hearing on a licensee's renewal application.

Complaints may come to us from any source. For the proposed MMJ outdoor advertising ban, my guess is that they would come from an advertising dispensary's competitor or from random folks who know about the new law. The complaints would likely come to us directly (We have a complaint form on our website as of last November), through 311, through Councilmembers or the police non-emergency line. The evidence could include a picture, but it wouldn't have to. Again, our response to a first complaint would almost certainly be to contact the dispensary, to explain the ordinance and to explain the importance of compliance.


Clear?

Will the ban end another pop-up industry: sign-twirlers? See our top eight sign-spinning moves that Denver City Council could ban.



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65 comments
COlady
COlady

 Quote: "Complaints may come to us from any source. For the proposed MMJ outdoor advertising ban, *my guess is that they would come from an advertising dispensary's competitor* or from random folks who know about the new law."- Tom Downey, Denver City Attorney

*s inserted by me to show MMIGs strategy / true colors.... 

 

upon re-reading this quote it becomes obvious that even the City Atty knows that this law was not written on behalf of, or for the use of, average citizens concerned about their exposure to MMJ advertising. Even Tom Downey fully enters into this ban expecting the primary users of the complaint system to be competitor businesses and maybe the very limited portion of the "random" public who are actually aware of this new law... but wasnt the premise used to push the ruling, that the public was clamoring for this law?

 

Why are the very limited time and resources of the Denver City Council (the intention baring quote comes from Downey's email to City Council members) being wasted on writing custom tailored laws to assist MMIG in their quest to eliminate all fair competition?

Why did the council people vote unanimously to support a bill when the narrow intent is obvious to even a lay person like me when reading Mr Downey's email?

Why does the City Council continue their failed relationship with MMIG, when there are many independent businesses who actually pay their retail taxes as well as  City of Denver, and MMED state licensing fees, that the city should be supporting instead?

For Shame.... 

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

I am a marijuana abuser, and I think the advertising is not only ineffective, it looks real trashy and cheap. Not necessary if the proprietor of the business takes care of it's customers !  

IcePick
IcePick

Hey Donkey,

 

You want to shut down this industry... why don't you start calling the Denver PD and reporting all the green crosses that stores "outdoors" to sell their illegal product.  Why not call John Walsh and tell him that all the Denver stores are now out of compliance.  (at least the ones who have green crosses and pot leaves and "medical marijuana" on their signage).

IcePick
IcePick

So what about signage on plate glass windows and tower placard signs and door signs, those are all "outdoor advertising" so do they need to come down now?

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

I believe they should form a heavily armed task force

to battle these ruthless criminals !!!

coloradommjpatient
coloradommjpatient

Hey Patty,

 

You dodged a bullet when they left out the part about banning advertising in Westword. Why is it that you have "Ask a Mexican" weekly, but you can't even print anything of value about what has happened to MMJ in this State??? We have put $MILLIONS into your publication. Can't we at least get a happy ending or something??? And no, the "Chronicle" aka your attempt to squeeze money out of these MMCs does not count. That thing is shameful.

 

The only reason these shops advertise with you is that they are desperate for business as they drown in over-regulation.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Any Dispensary not in COMPLETE compliance with ALL State and Local laws and regulations is at risk of having their MMJ license REVOKED!

 

How's that "regulatory framework" feeling now, suckers?

.

TheSpleen
TheSpleen

The level of cognitive dissonance required for the DCC to approve this idiocy is astounding. I can cruise down any major street in Denver -- Colfax, Colorado Blvd, Federal, etc -- and see HUGE billboards extolling the virtues of state and national lotteries -- the Powerball jackpot is growing, don't forget to gamble, suckers! - and the deliciousness of various forms of alcohol that will get me laid by the fabulously attractive hotties featured therein.

 

I have personally attended Denver City Council meetings where each of the members crowed on and on about the awesomeness of the state lottery and about how they would use the funds to help their districts.

 

Not one word rang out about the terrible costs gambling addiction can take on people's lives; not one sentence was ever utttered about how large-scale advertising may help fuel the incredibly soul-crushing affliction of alcoholism among our young people.

 

So, the DCC's stand is clear: advertising that contributes to addiction, disease, cultural decline and crime is just peachy as long as they get the money sent directly to their districts. Advertising for MMCs that sell a perfectly safe, non-addictive flower? It is evil and must be stopped in all forms.

 

The Denver city government in general (and the Council specifically) representsthe most worthless aspects of authoritarian bureaucracy: they would rather shut down local businesses like Sketch and Diablo for overdue paperwork submissions or go after MMC sign-twirlers than tackle the myriad of very important social and economic issues facing our beautiful city.  I do not expect this to change any time soon: these bloated, braindead administrators cling tightly to the public teat and refuse to let go.

IcePick
IcePick

 @Won_Leg Advertising has always appealed to the least common denominator and that is why it is often "trashy and cheap".  At the same time it must be said that advertising works and since marijuana is legal within the state advertising should be unrestricted like free speech.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @IcePick You're the one who wants to eliminate "illegal" marijuana players ... so why don't you snitch on the many dispensaries who routinely violate MMED rules on advertising -- such as using the word "joint" or advertising "free" meds or running illegal lotteries/contests/games, etc, etc.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @IcePick Read the Denver Sign Code.

 

Or have someone who knows how read it to you.

IcePick
IcePick

 @Budd_Jones Yea, it's almost like those illegal drug dealing cartels started the fire.....

IcePick
IcePick

 @coloradommjpatient "The only reason these shops advertise with you is that they are desperate for business as they drown in over-regulation."  Actually I'd guess the reason they advertise in Westword is that it drives customers for them.  If it didn't you would not see the same advertisers week in and week out.  And the ones who advertise are not the "desperate" ones, they are the big ones.  

 

By way of example let's deal with something more common... alcohol ads

 

Do you think the bars who advertise in Westword EVERY week do it because they like pissing away thousands of dollars on ineffective ads?  The obvious answer is that the bars must drive traffic by placing their specials (and special events) in the ad pages of the local independent paper, the "Westword".  

 

This is a common practice in major cities with an independent papers generating the lions share of bar (and porn) ads.  The people who read independent papers tend to be younger and hipper... the same crowd who frequents bars and soon 'recreational marijuana stores'.  Donkey Hotay and his prohibitionist pals aside.

 

 

 

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@coloradommjpatient

 

Dispensary MMJ in Colorado is DEAD -- killed by the myopic GREED of the Big $$ Dispensary Cartels and the PUERILE clownishness of clueless zit-faced stoners who BEGGED the GOVERNMENT to TAX, REGULATE and CONTROL every single GRAM of their precious pot as if it were toxic Plutonium!

 

Display advertising revenues in WW are down 80% from their peak in 2010 before the "regulatory framework" was rammed up the waiting and lubricated assholes of those foolish enough to think -- even for a moment -- that it would "legitimize the industry".

 

Fuck the Retail Dispensaries and all the Shitstorm they brought to Colorado.

 

The REAL MMJ industry exists and thrives as Private Patients and Individual Caregivers growing their own under the authority granted by Amendment 20.

 

IcePick
IcePick

 @DonkeyHotay Yep, and there are still more than 400 of them operating today across the state.  They have, unlike caregivers, driven the price of high-grade marijuana from $400 per ounce to $175 per ounce with smokeable scwag selling as low as $50/ounce.

 

The Colorado Medical Marijuana Centers that came from HB10-1284 are the best regulated marijuana stores anywhere in the world.  Please help us continue moving Colorado forward, away from prohibition by voting YES on A64 this November!!!!

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @TheSpleen 

 

And the Fools and Tools behind A64 want to give the same GOVERNMENT full and complete CONTROL over Marijuana.

 

ROTFLMAO !!

 

Stupid Stoners are as Stupid Stoners do!

 

Stay Stupid, Stoners!

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @IcePick  Not bad ... 1/2 right.

 

Free Speech does NOT apply to Commercial Advertising.

 

Seen or heard any TV, Radio ads for tobacco in the last 40 years? ... or Billboards in the last 15 years?

 

Once again, YOU = LEGAL FAIL.

IcePick
IcePick

 @DonkeyHotay If I were an MMC owner I would do exactly these things.  Not being an owner there is no benefit to me.  

 

As a patient I like that there are plenty of stores all driving the price down and keeping the quality respectable.

IcePick
IcePick

 @Won_Leg What do you mean?  Signage IS (almost) ALWAYS outdoor advertising.

coloradommjpatient
coloradommjpatient

 @IcePick I can't tell you how many MMC owners I talked to saying they had to advertise in westword or no one would come through the doors. They were desperate. Once they couldn't afford it, it wasn't long before they sold or closed. 

 

This has nothing to do with alcohol or WWs trashy escort ads. 

 

Somehow you missed what I was saying, but it mirrors what you said. Ads may equal business. That is why desperate MMCs advertise with them. Now that MMIG killed the most effective form, outdoor advertising, their deep pockets will out spend the mom and pop shops. 

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @IcePick = Econ 101 FAIL ... again.

 

When you learn that the tail doesn't wag the dog, get back to us, moron.

IcePick
IcePick

 @DonkeyHotay Calling people who consume cannabis 'stoners' shows that you are at least 40 years old.  amirite Jerry?

dm_co
dm_co

 @DonkeyHotay Government has been in control of Cannabis since 1970. 

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @IcePick " 1284 was a fantastic improvement for patients and I can't wait to see A64 do the same for non-patients."

 

There's another one for the Archive of Shame.

IcePick
IcePick

 @DonkeyHotay MMC's are safe places to shop and they drive the price down.  I like the fact that I can go into an MMC and pick up what I want and leave whereas buying from a drug dealer: costs more, provides less selection, often takes hours while I await the arrival of the always behind schedule pot dealer.  1284 was a fantastic improvement for patients and I can't wait to see A64 do the same for non-patients.

 

Yes on A 64!

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @IcePick How is that a "better solution" ?

 

Be specific ... and show your work.

IcePick
IcePick

 @DonkeyHotay >So you support Drug Dealers

 

Yes, I have for years and years and years.  I've given them tens of thousands of dollars.  But now that there are better options (become an MMC) I support that better solution.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @IcePick So you support Drug Dealers who exercise their "civilly disobedient" desires, eh?

 

 

IcePick
IcePick

 @DonkeyHotay You are like the news media picking and choosing what to quote.  You missed this part:

 

"I also believe we all need to be a little civilly disobedient from time to time.  Hence my desire for A64 to pass."

 

And it should be clear, even to a dumb skunk like you, that I am against the war on drugs.  You, however, are it's biggest cheerleader.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @IcePick "I support the United States of America and accept the rulings by our Supreme Court, so yes in that I support this decision."

 

So you support the 40+ year long War on Drugs and the MILLIONS of citizens that have been imprisoned as a result.

 

Noted.

IcePick
IcePick

 @DonkeyHotay I support the United States of America and accept the rulings by our Supreme Court, so yes in that I support this decision.  I also believe we all need to be a little civilly disobedient from time to time.  Hence my desire for A64 to pass.

IcePick
IcePick

 @DonkeyHotay Once again your reading comprehension = fail.  

 

I didn't say there was commercial free speech, although there is:  "In 2010, the United States Supreme Court held in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that laws prohibiting corporate and union political expenditures were unconstitutional. "

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @IcePick There are less than 1/2 as many Dispensaries as there were 24 months ago, so by your pig-ignorant economic conjecture, the prices should be rising.

 

Idiot.

IcePick
IcePick

 @DonkeyHotay  @PoorKay I'm thinking the reason westword has done no such story is that it isn't very interesting.  If it were I'm sure they would print DonkeyHotay's article written about the MMIG. Come on Donkey, be a stringer.  Spend your time doing something useful for a change.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @PoorKay  MMIG won't release their member list, and Westword is too dependent upon their advertising revenue to investigate it and publish their membership roll so that patients can make an informed decision as to whom they patronize or not.

 

coloradommjpatient
coloradommjpatient

 @IcePick Yes, but to have MMIG lobby for their interests alone is borderline criminal. They destroyed our constitution through supporting HB1284, HB1043, & Sb109. They supported a THC DUID Bill & are now banned outdoor advertising to limit competition. 

 

If you buy from RiverRock or MMJ America, you are supporting this type of behavior. BOYCOTT THEM!

IcePick
IcePick

 @coloradommjpatient Yea, advertising isn't what it used to be.  I think any store could do just fine with occasional emails to patients, a facebook account and a website, but the number one thing stores need to do is have good product on their shelves consistently.  In order to do that, however, you need 'deep pockets' to build out your grow.  So you are observing that mom and pop stores fail and big well funded companies succeed in this industry.  That is to be expected in any profitable industry, no?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @IcePick I'm still not "Jerry" you daft dipshit.

 

Grow a brain.

IcePick
IcePick

 @DonkeyHotay I'm still not Brian, or anyone else you might know.  Don't be angry that I broke your cover now, Jerry.  You are a bad skunk.  

 

I guess I'm a little flattered that you think I'm Brian but I am not a lawyer, never have been and never will be.

IcePick
IcePick

 @DonkeyHotay attack the messenger again = fail

 

Prices still dropping, YES on A64!

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @dm_co -- A Democracy gets the Government it Deserves!

 

 

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