Maine issues guidance on marijuana advertising

In an effort to keep Maine’s cannabis businesses compliant with state laws, regulators issued a reminder guidance regarding how to advertise.

The state’s Office of Marijuana Policy released the guidance after an investigation into cannabis-related advertisements at the Androscoggin Bank Colisée in Lewiston, Maine, the Portland Press Herald reported.

Parents of children who played sports or attended events at the ice rink complained last November about the ads, some of which sported colorful images of marijuana leaves and fruit.

Marijuana advertising or marketing at a publicly accessible sporting event or music venue would be prohibited unless the specific event or venue were restricted to people 21 or older, according to Erik Gunderson, director of the agency.

Laws governing Maine’s operating medical marijuana industry and nascent adult-use sector prohibit advertising that will reach or is designed to appeal to people younger than 21 – the legal age to buy marijuana products in the state.

Marijuana business operators must ensure advertising and other marketing materials aren’t displayed in prohibited areas, especially near public or private schools or other sites frequented by under-age people, according to a letter Gunderson posted on the OMP’s website.

“In many instances, context is going to be critical,” Gunderson wrote in the letter.

“Permissible marketing activity could be deemed impermissible depending on the audience that is likely to encounter the advertising.”

Marijuana advertising in Maine must be targeted to those who are at least 21, whether it is on television, radio, print or social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, the Press Herald reported.

Gunderson did note that “incidental exposure” to underage people is “unavoidable” and advised marijuana business owners to consult an attorney before advertising.

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