Arizona lawmakers reject proposed cannabis billboard ban

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State legislators in Arizona declined an opportunity to place more marketing restrictions on cannabis businesses by turning down a bill that would have banned billboard ads by marijuana companies in certain circumstances.

According to Capitol Media Services, the bill would have prohibited marijuana businesses from advertising on billboards that are within 1,000 feet of any school, child-care center, church or public park.

The measure was intended to keep children from being exposed to marijuana advertising.

Only 18 of 30 senators wound up backing the bill.

Twenty-three – a three-fourths majority – were required to pass the bill because it would have altered the constitutional amendment voters approved last fall. Proposition 207 legalized adult-use marijuana in the state.

Opponents of the move said they were concerned they were being put in a position to give the alcohol industry an arbitrary leg up over their cannabis counterparts.

Beermakers and other spirits companies are allowed to sponsor concerts and pro athletes and obtain other high-profile advertising slots, but cannabis businesses are not.

Neighboring California, by contrast, has been busily enforcing a ban on marijuana billboard ads next to highways that cross state lines.