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New State Legislation Would Punish Illegal Cannabis Advertisements While Protecting Consumers

Massive influx of illegal cannabis operations benefit from unregulated advertisements

As California’s leading legal cannabis business trade association, the United Cannabis Business Association (UCBA) announces sponsorship of Assembly Bill 1417 by Assemblymember Blanca Rubio. Assembly Bill 1417 will attempt to reign in rampant advertisements for illegal and unlicensed cannabis businesses in California, beginning with the first steps in the California State Legislature. The bill which would create civil penalties and injunctive relief against webpages, apps and other forms of digital advertisement that promote unlicensed cannabis business activity without prominently including an active state license.

Jerred Kiloh, President of the UCBA stated “since voters approved Proposition 64, which allows legal, licensed and regulated cannabis operations, the illegal cannabis market has flourished and this unchecked ability to advertise has given these illegal activities a huge advantage over legal operators. Consumers have no way of determining if the cannabis retailer they visit is safe, legal or licensed. This means, the products are most likely not tested and that illegal operators are not being held accountable to anyone, including the police.”

AB 1417 will attempt to distinguish legal operators from illegal operators on popular webpages like Weedmaps, an advertiser that consumers use to find and purchase cannabis products. Additionally, billboards and other advertisements can direct consumers to potentially illegal operations and untested products. A benefit of AB 1417 is that it allows a civil class action lawsuit because of the large number of potentially aggrieved persons who have been impacted by the illegal advertisements.

Kiloh continued, “the total lack of regulation is creating a massive public safety and public health issue in the City of Los Angeles and throughout California. They are fooling consumers, state and local regulators. It’s not safe, it’s not what voters approved.”