Oregon’s emerging pot laws loose on billboards

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — When Attis Trading Company advertises their marijuana shops on billboards around Portland, they follow a few basic rules.

“We can’t show pictures of marijuana. We don’t use cartoon characters, things like that,” said Jayson Fitzgerald. “We keep it real clean, real simple, respectable.”

“We can’t show pictures of marijuana. We don’t use cartoon characters, things like that. We keep it real clean, real simple, respectable.

Their only advertising guidelines now are dictated by the Oregon Health Authority, which says dispensaries “should take steps to prevent promoting products in a manner that’s directed at children and adolescents.”

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission will have the same focus when it begins taking license applications in January.

“Advertising can’t be targeted toward minors under 21 to encourage their use of the product,” said OLCC’s Mark Pettinger.

Pettinger did say that Oregon “has a very liberal constitution in terms of free speech,” which leads to the various looks for pot billboards — patriotic to practical and pragmatic, bold, stylish and classic.

Fitzgerald said they find out how effective their billboards are from customers. “We ask them how did you hear about us,” he said. “We get a lot of reports off the billboards.”

The OLCCs temporary rules for marijuana advertising now apply to the web, print, radio and TV ads, and require that no more than 30% of the audience be under 21.

But, Pettinger said, “our rules don’t speak to billboards.”

That may change. Washington state now prohibits posting certain marijuana ads on billboards, within 1000 feet of schools, parks, playgrounds and daycares.

Colorado only allows billboards on the property of licensed pot businesses.

But for now, in Oregon, billboards need to adhere to broad guidelines.

“No pictures of cannabis,” Fitzgerald said. “We don’t say pot, get high. Things like that.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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