Ask a Stoner: Can the City Take Ads for Marijuana?
Westword

Ask a Stoner: Can the City Take Ads for Marijuana?

Dear Stoner: While driving along Speer Boulevard, I’ve seen ads for Weedmaps on the digital billboards outside the Colorado Convention Center and the Denver Performing Arts Complex. I know recreational marijuana is legal in Denver, but can the city itself accept ads for marijuana?
Bill Bored

Dear BB: We almost crashed our car when we spotted those Weedmaps messages, which were certainly a surprise considering the things you usually see advertised on those billboards: ballets, symphonies, touring Broadway shows. So we reached out to Brian Kitts, director of marketing and communications for Denver Arts &Venues. “Up to 20 percent of the digital LED signage at DPAC and the CCC always has been required for promotion of upcoming events, the Denver Theatre District and resident companies,” he says via e-mail. “The remaining time is available for sale as ad space, Visit Denver conventions, in-house promo for Red Rocks, etc.”

Is the Big Blue Bear looking for weed?
Is the Big Blue Bear looking for weed?
Colorado Convention Center

But will the city accept just any advertising message? “There are limits on the ads/sponsorships we allow at the venues,” Kitts responds. “We reserve the right to approve specific content of an individual ad (a couple of liquor ads would’ve drawn complaints). As far as general categories, we haven’t accepted messages that conflict with a mayor’s office executive order (guns, tobacco, etc.), religious or political marketing.”

For the record, and despite several attempts to change the rules regarding marijuana marketing in Denver, the rules haven’t changed since this bulletin sent out by the city in December 2014:

“In accordance with Amendment 64’s specific direction that regulations include restrictions on advertising of marijuana, both state and city laws impose limits on outdoor signs and advertising of marijuana and marijuana products. City ordinances prohibit any advertising of marijuana or marijuana products — either medical or retail — anywhere in the city where the advertisement is visible to members of the public from any street, sidewalk, park, or other public place. This prohibition includes all types of signs, including billboards, balloons, vehicle-mounted signs, portable signs, sandwich boards, spinners, balloon signs, and handbills, leaflets or fliers. This includes, but is not limited to, signs on vendor booths at special events that are visible to the public.”

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