As many in the industry know, the Marihuana Regulation & Taxation Act (“MRTA”) was enacted in 2021, legalizing adult-use cannabis in New York State. The MRTA created a “regulatory structure to oversee the licensure, cultivation, production, distribution, sale and taxation of medical, adult-use and cannabinoid hemp . . . .” Since April 2022, the Cannabis Control Board (“Board”) has been busy reviewing and approving “Adult-use Cannabis Conditional Cultivator Licenses” throughout the State. According to Governor Kathy Hochul, the Office of Cannabis Management (“OCM”) will continue to review applications on a rolling basis and will work to get them to the Board for approval as quickly as possible. As we mentioned in a recent blog, these licensees are positioned to conduct New York’s first legal cannabis sales before the end of 2022.
While we Wait, Get Your Marijuana Advertising Promotions Ready!
As we wait for the regulations to be finalized by New York State, it is the perfect time to consider the most effective and legally appropriate way to roll out your marijuana advertising campaigns. There is no better time than the present! In order to get the process underway, let’s take a look at the Board’s approved regulations for Adult-Use Cannabis, including those applicable to packaging, labeling, marketing, advertising, and laboratory testing. Companies hoping to enter the marijuana marketing arena must be aware of, and even more importantly, adhere to, comprehensive regulations or risk significant state and federal penalties.
What do the Marijuana Advertising Regulations Cover?
The New York marijuana advertising regulations are divided into three key categories: (1) packaging and labeling, (2) marketing and advertising, and (3) laboratory testing. The regulations require that packaging be child-resistant, tamper-evident, non-toxic, and not designed to appeal to minors. Further, labeling must include relevant warnings, and details concerning serving size, potency, ingredients, and usage and storage instructions. As to the specific marketing and advertising rules, the approved regulations require that marketing efforts be limited to adult-only audiences. Importantly, such advertising efforts may not target minors in any way. In fact, the regulations detail the content and format of the subject advertising collateral and require cannabis businesses to take certain proactive measures to ensure that young people are not exposed to such marketing initiatives.
The regulations include standard advertising restrictions, such as the prohibition on publishing obscene, false, and misleading advertisements. The statute specifies that all cannabis advertisements “that make a statement relating to effectiveness, side effects, consequences or contraindications shall present a true and accurate statement of such information.” In addition, cannabis advertisements cannot contain statements that suggest that such products have been endorsed by the State of New York or any other governmental entity.
What are the Next Steps Before Marijuana Advertising May Begin?
The 60-day period to submit comments on the proposed regulations recently ended. As we wait for the final version of the rules, this is a good time to consider the best course of action to take with your marijuana advertising campaigns. Please note that the regulations may be revised or updated to account for issues that came up during the recent public comment period. This makes it all the more important that businesses consult with an experienced marijuana marketing attorney to ensure that advertising efforts comply with evolving state and federal regulations.
If you are interested in learning more about this topic or require legal assistance in connection with advertising marijuana or cannabis-related products, please e-mail us at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us at (212) 246-0900.
The material contained herein is provided for informational purposes only and is not legal advice, nor is it a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney. Each situation is unique, and you should not act or rely on any information contained herein without seeking the advice of an experienced attorney.
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