California initiative draws fire for opening the door to TV ads that promote pot smoking

The Los Angeles Times
by Patrick McGreevy

Nearly a half-century after tobacco ads were kicked off television in the United States, an initiative in California would take a first step toward allowing TV commercials promoting pot to air alongside advertisements for cereal and cleaning products.

Proposition 64, which is on the November ballot, would allow people age 21 and older to possess and use up to an ounce of marijuana and would allow pot shops to sell cannabis for recreational use.

The initiative also includes a provision that could someday allow cannabis sellers to advertise their products in print ads and on digital sites and radio and television stations, but would “prohibit the marketing and advertising of non-medical marijuana to persons younger than 21 years old or near schools or other places where children are present.”

Television ads are not likely to appear soon, even if voters approve the initiative. There are other impediments to pot ads hitting the airwaves in California, including the fact that cannabis is still seen by the federal government as an illegal drug.

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