On Friday, Governor Gavin Newsom vetoed Assembly Bill 1302, which would have allowed cannabis billboard advertisements on most California highways and interstates, and issued a veto message explaining his reasoning. The governor explained that California’s adult-use cannabis bill had built-in protections to prevent youth from being exposed to cannabis-related advertising, and that he didn’t want to change that.
“When the voters passed Proposition 64, they enacted robust protections shielding youth from exposure to cannabis and cannabis advertising,” Newsom wrote. “Among other things, voters completely prohibited billboard-based cannabis advertising on all Interstate Highways, and on all State Highways that cross the California border. Allowing advertising on these high-traffic thoroughfares could expose young passengers to cannabis advertising.”
The governor went on to explain that allowing billboards visible to drivers and underage passengers would not align with the original intentions behind Proposition 64.
“AB 1302 would weaken the protections passed in Proposition 64. California can refine and advance its regulation of cannabis while also remaining faithful to the will of the voters, and I will continue to work with the author to strike this balance. For these reasons, I am returning AB 1302 without my signature.”
Assemblyman Bill Quirk, who represents Union City, said the bill was needed to help the state’s legal cannabis industry that is burdened by high taxes and bans on cannabis shops in many California cities.
“We have not done enough to help the legal cannabis industry thrive,” Quirk said, as reported by the Associated Press. “The legal cannabis industry has a very limited and narrow set of marketing avenues available to them. Removing their ability to promote their legitimate business along hundreds of miles of roadway does nothing but help the illicit