For the first time since their recreational marijuana legalization push began, Proposition 64 advocates are running statewide television spots.
For the first time since their recreational marijuana legalization push began, Proposition 64 advocates are running statewide television spots.

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Capitol Alert

Ad for legalizing marijuana sticks to the facts

By Jeremy B. White

jwhite@sacbee.com

October 10, 2016 04:00 AM

For the first time since their recreational marijuana legalization push began, Proposition 64 advocates are running statewide television spots.

Text

“When legalizing safe, responsible adult use of marijuana, the most important question is, ‘how?’ By voting yes on Prop. 64, adults 21 and over could only purchase marijuana at licensed marijuana businesses. And Prop. 64 bans advertising directed at kids, requires strict product labeling, child-proof packaging, and bans edibles that appeal to children. Smart provisions to safeguard our families. Learn more about the safeguards at yeson64.org.”

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Analysis

The ad stays faithful to the wording in the initiative.

Much of the text of Proposition 64 delineates a licensing structure to regulate the legal pot industry from cultivation to customer. It is true that only adults who are 21 and over could legally buy pot. Sellers would need to obtain business licenses, which could be taken away if they’re caught selling to minors.

Advertising has become a key point of dispute in the Proposition 64 campaign. This ad sticks to the facts in describing provisions intended to shield youngsters from pot appeals.

No ads would be allowed within 1,000 feet of schools, day care providers and youth centers. The initiative forbids ads that “encourage persons under the age of 21 years to consume marijuana or marijuana products,” which includes advertising and marketing “containing symbols, language, music, gestures, cartoon characters or other content elements known to appeal primarily to persons below the legal age of consumption.”

Targeted ads offer businesses an increasingly sophisticated and precise way to appeal to potential customers – those enticements on your social media feed that reflect recent web searches, for example. Under Proposition 64, such “direct, individualized” ads for pot could happen only if the person running them has confirmed the recipient would be 21 or older.

Packaging rules in Proposition 64 mandate child-proof containers and product labels that blare “GOVERNMENT WARNING” before advising to keep pot and pot products away from children or animals.

Edible marijuana products, like the brownies and other weed-infused treats available at many medical marijuana dispensaries, have also drawn warnings from legalization opponents about exposing kids. Proposition 64 seeks to address that fear by barring products that are “designed to be appealing to children or easily confused with commercially sold candy or foods that do not contain marijuana.”

That wording leaves space for some ambiguity. The initiative doesn’t prohibit edibles altogether, just those that specifically are alluring for kids, a category that would be open to some interpretation when the Department of Public Health promulgates more specific rules. Still, it’s accurate to say the initiative explicitly blocks edibles targeted at kids.

PoliGRAPH is The Bee’s political fact checker, rating campaign advertisements and candidate claims as True, Iffy or False.

Jeremy B. White: 916-326-5543, @CapitolAlert