Montana lawmakers table bill that would have banned cannabis advertising

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Legislators will likely revive the bill at a later date, frustrating cannabis companies

The cannabis industry in Montana could be gearing up for some major changes in the area of advertising. The Senate Committee on Business, Labor, and Economic Affairs recently unveiled legislation that would seek to ban most cannabis advertising in the state. An additional measure introduced by the same bill also calls for a marijuana warning label aimed at pregnant women.

Representative Kerri Seekins-Crowe is the current sponsor of House Bill 351. In its current form, the measure proposes to prohibit the dissemination, publication, solicitation, or circulation of visual, written, or oral communication that would “directly induce” someone to purchase or use marijuana. The legislation, which was already passed in the House, would allow businesses to employ outdoor signage and maintain their websites.

Before the vote took place, the committee gave the go-ahead to an amendment that would give marijuana companies the opportunity to donate to charitable causes and have their name listed as a donor. The amendment also clears the way for companies to sell merchandise bearing their name or logo.

On the other hand, Representative Jane Gillette introduced House Bill 611. This measure, which had also received approval from the House, would require marijuana companies to add a warning label to their packaging in order to raise awareness about pregnant women specifically.

Coleen Smith, executive director of Helena-based Youth Connections, was the only proponent to speak in favor of HB 351, the advertising ban bill. “Children and families should not be inundated with advertising for this highly addictive substance,” she said.

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