Advertising Regulations Take Shape As Illinois Readies For Legal Cannabis

  • by , Op-Ed Contributor, December 26, 2019
Illinois — “Land of Lincoln” — legalizes recreational cannabis Jan. 1 -- the second-largest state to allow adult-use pot.

Advertising regulations vary state by state. The rules in Illinois resemble an emerging regulatory framework:

- No false or misleading claims

- No promotion of overconsumption

- No depiction of consumption

- No health/therapeutic claims

- No images of cannabis leaves or buds

- No images likely to appeal to minors such as cartoons

- No ads on public transit vehicles or shelters

- No promotion of sales by giving away products or conducting games/competitions related to consumption



- Buffer zone (1,000 feet) from schools, parks, libraries, playgrounds, rec centers, or game arcades that allow those under 21

Eleven states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana; Illinois via state legislation. Colorado and Washington State were first, approving adult-use cannabis by ballot measures in 2012.

Nearly half of advertising spending to promote cannabis goes to out-of-home (OOH) media, according to Kantar tracking. Broadcasters (licensed by the Federal Communications Commission) are reluctant to accept ads for cannabis, which remains illegal at the federal level.

Despite conflict between federal and state law, state legalization continues to expand. 

Illinois (population 12.7 million) has 55 licensed medical-marijuana dispensaries. Some will be able to sell recreational pot starting Jan. 1.

A medical-cannabis outlet in Naperville will not sell adult-use recreational marijuana because the city voted to ban sales of recreational marijuana.

By May 1, 2020, Illinois plans to issue up to 75 new retail licenses for recreational cannabis.

Consumers in Illinois will pay 6.25% sales tax and a tiered tax based on THC levels (tetrahydrocannabinol is the main psychoactive agent in cannabis).

Earlier this year, Colorado surpassed $1 billion in overall state revenue generated from its legal marijuana industry.

In 2018, voters approved recreational marijuana in Michigan, and medical marijuana in Missouri and Utah. Recreational marijuana failed on the North Dakota ballot.

What’s next? Recreational marijuana will be on the ballot in New Jersey in 2020; yes or no on a constitutional amendment.

1 comment about "Advertising Regulations Take Shape As Illinois Readies For Legal Cannabis".
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  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, December 30, 2019 at 11:01 a.m.

    The problem with pot is that the cannabis of old is not the high-power stuff prevalent now. Too bad the voters did not read this:

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