Denver’s medical marijuana dispensaries may have fewer places to set up sign-twirlers come later this summer.
The Businesses, Workforce & Sustainability Committee voted today to move an ordinance to City Council that would ban outdoor medical marijuana advertising close to schools.
The council could also consider a citywide ban without the school-area limitation.
“I really feel it’s rather dumb,” Councilwoman Jeanne Faatz said about the outdoor advertising. “They’re creating a firestorm of opposition for their industry.”
Colorado’s main medical marijuana lobby originally pushed Council to ban outdoor advertising in efforts to legitimize the industry.
“We believe the industry should target its advertisements to the 2 percent of Coloradans who are medical marijuana patients,” said Michael Elliot , the executive director of the Medical Marijuana Industry Group, a trade association representing more than 50 businesses.
On June 18 , Council will hold the first reading and public hearing for the more narrow ordinance that bans sign flippers, exterior business signs, hand bills and leaflets within 1,000 feet of any school, child care center, park or recreation center. Council expects a second reading in mid-July.
Councilwoman Debbie Ortega said she drafted the ordinance — which was met with support by all but the head of the committee — in efforts to “protect our kids.”
“I don’t know how we pick out one industry,” Councilman Charlie Brown said, the only member who did not vote in favor of the ordinance.
Brown noted that the city should treat the marijuana industry like all other businesses, and he said he felt the ordinance limited free speech.
Councilman Christopher Herndon said he’s drafting a citywide ordinance.
Shawn Colemen , the executive director of the Cannabis Business Alliance who worked with Ortega and other medical-marijuana groups to draft the ordinance, said he does not support a citywide ban not tied to schools, and would rather see the industry self-regulate.
“It needs to happen within a community,” Colemen said.