Bill to ban roadside cannabis ads introduced

ALBANY — Assemblyman Scott A. Gray, R-Watertown, has introduced a new bill aimed at eliminating marijuana advertisements along roadsides, an effort he says will help cut down on the number of young people using drugs.

On Wednesday, Gray introduced the “Roadside Cannabis Advertising Prohibition Act,” which would ban any cannabis advertisements on billboards or roadside signs in New York. The bill exempts signs for cannabis dispensaries on their premises, so they can still advertise their location, although they would not be permitted to install large signs that show specific products to passersby.

When the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act was enacted in 2021, legalizing recreational marijuana in New York, it included provisions allowing cannabis advertisements only in areas where people who already use marijuana are likely to see them. That provision has gone completely unenforced, and marijuana dispensary ads have popped up across the state, some advertising specific product images or just marijuana in general.

Gray, in the legislative justification attached to his bill, said he has seen a billboard in his home district in St. Lawrence County, advertising marijuana with a “Got Weed?” slogan, similar to the “Got Milk?” dairy slogan. He said he was concerned about this and other ads that deliberately resemble ads focused on children and teenagers.

“A number of scientific studies have shown serious effects from marijuana on teenagers’ brains, and this legislation will ensure that products are not advertised in a harmful way, while protecting the rights of authorized establishments to have signage acknowledging the location of their venue.”


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