Arizona lawmakers reject limits on marijuana advertising, sponsorship | Arizona and Regional News

Jars of marijuana buds at Grow Sciences in Phoenix. On Monday, state lawmakers refused to place proposed restrictions on billboard advertising for marijuana products.

PHOENIX — Arizona lawmakers refused Monday to place restrictions on advertising marijuana that don’t exist for liquor and, to a great extent, for tobacco products.

HB 2809 sought a ban on billboards advertising the product, now legal for adult use since approval of Proposition 207, within 1,000 feet if in the line of sight of any child care center, church, public park or public or private school. And any billboard already up would have to come down within 30 days of the law taking effect.

But what upset several Democratic lawmakers was a proposed outright ban on marijuana retailers sponsoring any athletic, musical, artistic or “other social or cultural event.” Also forbidden would have been underwriting or sponsoring any entry fee or team in any event.

Put simply, it was designed to hide the visibility of one legal drug — in this case, marijuana — while allowing wholesale promotion of another, notably alcohol.

It did not escape foes that this came as people can attend rock concerts sponsored by Miller Light and Busch is the official beer of NASCAR.

The legislation cleared the House in February with only two dissenting votes. And on Monday, Sen. Christine Marsh, D-Phoenix, said she agrees.

“The school teacher in me absolutely has to vote ‘yes,'” Marsh told colleagues. “We need to protect our kids.”