In the era of legal marijuana, compliance is critical, and Maine regulators are reminding folks how to advertise within state laws.
Maine’s Office of Marijuana Policy (OMP) issued guidance reminders after cannabis-related ads at Lewiston’s Androscoggin Bank Colisée resulted in an investigation. Parents complained about marijuana ads at the ice rink last November. Some of the ads featured colorful images of marijuana leaves and fruit.
Maine’s marijuana advertising regulations: whether on television, radio, print or social media, ads must target audiences who are at least 21 years old.
Maine has strict laws that regulate the state’s medical marijuana industry. These limitations include regulations on the recreational, adult-use side. Regulations prohibit advertising that reaches (or is designed) to appeal to those under the legal age (21) to buy cannabis products. To comply, cannabis businesses must ensure that their marketing materials (this includes advertising) aren’t on display in prohibited areas. These prohibited areas include schools and any area frequented by those under 21 years of age. These fluid rules put a significant burden on the cannabis industry to self-regulate as well.
In a letter released on the OMP website by agency director Erik Gunderson, marijuana marketing and advertising at publicly accessible sporting or music events are prohibited — unless that specific event was restricted to attendees 21 years or older. Gunderson did acknowledge that “incidental exposure” to underage populations is “unavoidable.”
“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.” Gunderson, in the OMP post, advised marijuana business owners to consult with an attorney before advertising.