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LITTLE ROCK (KATV) — This month, the first medical marijuana product is expected to hit the hands of patients in the state, but Arkansas lawmakers are still working out legislation.
A bill that hit the governor’s desk Tuesday afternoon puts strict guidelines on advertising for medical marijuana. SB 441 is wanting to limit who these dispensaries advertise to and what they can and cannot use in that advertisement. “It makes our jobs as communicators a little bit more challenging because there are a lot of boxes that we need to tick to make sure that our ad will comply with these laws,” said Elizabeth Michael, a principal at Bud Agency.
A few of the key points in the law say you cannot advertise to audiences with children making up 30 percent or more of the viewership. Outdoor advertising cannot happen within 1,000 feet of a school or daycare, and the use of symbols such as cartoon characters that might attract children are prohibited. Michael said, “It really is trying to protect children. So, making sure that your advertisements don’t get in front of the eyeballs of children.”
But there’s one limitation that Michael doesn’t agree with. Dispensaries would not be allowed to use the symbol of a green cross or any commonly associated with the practice of medicine. “The number of dispensaries who were planning on putting a green cross outside of their business, they may have purchased a sign already. It might be incorporated in their logo. That means that their logo could not be shown,” said Michael. She adds her agency is already working with Arkansas dispensaries to come up with a symbol of their own that complies with the legislation but would be commonly associated with medical marijuana in the state.
The limits in the bill only apply to medical marijuana dispensaries. Cultivators would be barred from advertising all together.
KATV reached out to Governor Asa Hutchinson’s office, and we’re told he does plan to sign the bill into law, adding, “It is consistent with the medicinal intent of the amendment that voters passed in 2016 that was meant only for the treatment of patients.”