Last night, Denver City Council unanimously backed the proposed ban on medical marijuana outdoor advertising, despite a majority of speakers opposing the proposed measure, as well as one advocate's threat to sue on First Amendment grounds. Council will now have to have a final vote to approve it on August 20.
About fifteen people got up to share their thoughts before council. Many of those against the ban pointed to sign spinners as being the real problem and asked council to focus on them instead of punishing an entire industry.
Yesterday morning, Rico Colibri, president of the Cannabis Alliance for Regulation & Education (CARE), sent council members an e-mail letter outlining what he sees as needed changes in the language of the ordinance and promising to take legal action if the current draft is approved. He watched the proceedings remotely, and he tells our Michael Roberts that he perceived from some council members' comments that they had seen the letter and were aware of a potential free-speech challenge.
Supporters say a citywide ban, rather than an initial proposal by councilwoman Debbie Ortega to target dispensaries within 1,000 feet of schools, parks and daycare centers, is needed in order to treat all dispensaries fairly, as well as to help curb negative public perception.
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Keep reading The Latest Word for more on the ban, its supporters and its opponents.
In the meantime, it's worth noting that while council took one more step toward outlawing outdoor MMJ advertising, members moved forward on a $100,000 contract with Miller-Coors for advertising in city-run venues like Red Rocks and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.
So for those of you keeping score: advertising booze to children and people who don't drink in our civic-owned public spaces is apparently okay, while advertising medical marijuana on both public and private property is not.
More from our Marijuana archive: "Marijuana advocate to Denver City Council: If changes in MMJ ad ban not made, we'll sue."