The California Assembly has recently passed Bill 3067, a new law relating to cannabis. The law will go into effect in 2019, and will further regulate the cannabis industry.
The bill will change the landscape of cannabis marketing, making it even more difficult to market cannabis business via social media. Here’s a quick article explaining the contents of the bill, as well as what it could mean for cannabis business owners.
What is Assembly Bill 3067?
Assembly Bill 3067 is a new law passed by the California state legislature. It expands upon existing laws and bills, further clarifying the language used in them.
The intention of the bill is to “close a loophole and protect minors” in the words of Ed Chau, the author of the bill. This new law deals with a loophole that allowed businesses to market cannabis products to minors. Along with this, the bill regulates marketing, adding new regulations.
The Situation Up to This Point
To better understand assembly Bill 3067, we have to take a step back. When proposition 64 or prop 64 passed, legalizing cannabis in California, lawmakers wanted to ensure that people under the age of 21 would be protected from cannabis-related marketing.
After prop 64 passed and came into law as the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) it included provisions that restricted cannabis marketing. The goal was to shelter minors from being exposed to a product that they could not legally purchase.
More specifically, broadcast, radio, cable, print and digital advertising of cannabis were restricted – but there was no online protection for minors. This loophole allowed businesses to advertise to minors.
Expanding Upon Existing Laws
This new bill, introduced by California Assemblyman Ed Chau, came into effect on the first of January, 2019. The bill expands the list of the products and services which are subject to the Privacy Rights for California Minors in the Digital World.
According to leading industry marketing experts such as Lisa Buffo, the new law clarifies some of the language that was already in effect due to previous bills.
How Will This Bill Affect Marketing?
Another part of the bill expands upon existing marketing regulations. Before this bill, using images of minors under the age of 18 in marketing was not allowed. That bar has been raised to the age of 21. Since using images of anyone under 21 is now illegal, many businesses will have to re-evaluate or change their current marketing and the images that they are using.
Cannabis operators are now also barred from disclosing a minor’s information to a third party for marketing purposes. This provision will make it harder for cannabis advertisers to market products to those under the age of 21 using the internet.
Impact on Cannabis Business Owners
The face of online cannabis marketing will change. Business owners will have to review existing marketing and adjust it to the new regulations. Complying with the new law will bring more difficulties for business owners – specifically with regards to social media.
The internet and social media are two of the most effective ways to market a cannabis business. Adding more regulations will only make that more difficult. PRCMDC will now also prohibit the operator of a website, online service, or online or mobile app which is directed to minors from marketing or advertising any sort of cannabis or cannabis related products.
The language of the bill adds “any cannabis, cannabis product, cannabis business or any instrument or paraphernalia that is designed for the smoking or ingestion of cannabis” to the list of items that are subject to the Privacy Rights for California Minors in the Digital World”. The scope of the bill is large, and it’s written in a way that ensures it will affect every single cannabis business in the state of California.
But the situation is a double-edged sword – now that the language of the law has been made clearer, it’s easier to understand what is required of you as a business owner.
Not being able to use the image of a minor under 18 for marketing isn’t a big deal – but the impact the bill will have on social media marketing is still undetermined. One thing is certain – the effect won’t be good for business.
Assembly bill 3067 is important, but it’s just one of the many laws regarding cannabis that are being passed. Overall, the situation is improving for the industry and cannabis business owners.
Cannabis is becoming a normal part of everyday life in California. Assembly Bill 1793, introduced by Rob Bonta, has mandated the Department of Justice to review all records of past cannabis related convictions before July 1, 2020. All of them will be reviewed for dismissal or re-designation. It’s a huge step towards righting the wrongs that incarcerating people for cannabis has caused. This bill is, in a sense, the final word on the topic of cannabis and the criminal justice system.
Assembly Bill 2721, which also recently came into effect, allows persons over the age of 21 to test their cannabis in a licensed laboratory. This is a big win for public health, particularly for home growers and small scale, personal operations, as well as all consumers. Having the opportunity to legally test the quality of the products you purchase is a big step towards more safety for consumers.
Legislators have also tackled the topic of cannabis delivery. As of right now, the situation is moving in favor of the cannabis business – hurdles to statewide delivery are being removed and challenged.
Some cities and communities in California have been preventing residents from growing marijuana, but that is also changing. As of right now, no local authority can prevent you from growing cannabis indoors.
While particular bills like AB 3067 may burden producers, the wider trend in legislation seems to be beneficial for California’s cannabis industry. You should take AB 3067 seriously and stay up to date on the newest laws – but the situation isn’t so grim after all.