Mississippi Makes It a Crime to Advertise Legal Medical Marijuana Businesses
Clarence Cocroft is the owner of a legal medical marijuana business in Olive Branch, Mississippi. However, while his business is perfectly legal, the state is hell-bent on making it practically impossible for him to actually stay afloat. How? By making it a felony for Cocroft to advertise his business.
Mississippians overwhelmingly voted to legalize medical marijuana in 2020, yet the state has enacted a series of regulations that make it virtually guaranteed that legal marijuana businesses will fail to thrive. Not only does the state have a gauntlet of restrictive regulations that make finding an appropriate storefront extremely difficult (marijuana businesses cannot be within 1,000 feet of a church, school, or daycare, for example), but once a business opens, they’re barred from nearly all forms of advertisement.
Under state law, medical marijuana businesses are banned from advertising through an extremely extensive range of media, including print media, television, radio, social media, mass text and email, and billboards. Signage for businesses themselves is also restricted. Not only are businesses prohibited from displaying their products in store windows, but storefront advertising cannot include cannabis leaf or bud imagery. Even websites are restricted to only providing the business’ “contact information, retail dispensing locations, and a list of products available,” as well as “general information reasonably expected to be necessary to serving qualified patients of the Medical Marijuana Program.”
The price for slipping up is high—violators face felony charges.
This week, the Institute for Justice, a public interest law firm focused on government abuse, filed a lawsuit challenging the regulations by arguing the
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