WA Judge Strikes Down Law Banning MMJ Ads by Doctors

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A Washington State judge has ruled that a law preventing doctors from mentioning medical marijuana in their advertising is unconstitutional.

Advertising by cannabis businesses is heavily regulated in the state, as it is in most markets.

But Pierce Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Martin said in a ruling that while Washington has an interest in restricting wording in advertisements, the law is too broad and “chills even informational speech aimed solely at public education.”

The ruling stems from a case brought last year by a doctor who was sanctioned by the Washington Health Department for advertising his willingness to write prescriptions for medical cannabis, according to the Tacoma News Tribune.

The only restrictions that should be placed on the advertisements is to be sure they’re not false or misleading, the doctor’s lawyer argued.

The prosecution argued that the doctor cannot claim Constitutional protection because marijuana is still federally illegal, and free-speech provisions aren’t extended to illegal products or activity.

Martin said the statute is overly extensive and restricts public information.