Pubdate: Sun, 26 Nov 2017
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Copyright: 2017 Hearst Communications Inc.


There's hardly a more receptive or captive audience for marketing an
intoxicant than the beleaguered commuters crowded onto a rush-hour
Muni bus (except perhaps the ones packed onto a rush-hour BART train).
But unlike many of the dopey regulations proliferating ahead of
California's legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes in
2018, Muni's decision to ban cannabis advertising makes sense.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency's board voted
Tuesday to ban recreational marijuana advertising and stop accepting
medical marijuana ads once current contracts expire. The policy is in
keeping with Muni's refusal of alcohol, tobacco and firearms
advertising in light of the number of children who ride city buses and
trains. It's also in line with statewide regulations that prohibit
cannabis advertising that targets children or reaches audiences with
large numbers of young people.

As with alcohol and other legal products that can be harmful, and
especially so to children, marijuana regulations that try to
discourage underage use are appropriate. Conversely, much of the
confusing and counterproductive cannabis regulation taking place could
be cleared up by contemplating whether it might be imposed on any
other comparable product. Take, for example, San Francisco
supervisors' attempts to regulate marijuana dispensaries out of much
of the city and micromanage the demographic composition of sellers -
or the outcry over the state's failure to limit the size of marijuana
farms. Such extraordinary government interventions wouldn't get very
far if they were being considered for any other market.

As California and much of the country all too gradually emerge from
the reefer-madness era, in which fantastical notions of marijuana's
dangers provided the pretext for prohibition, officials should favor
sober regulations with sensible goals - and frown on those that
perpetuate the mistake of imbuing the plant with preternatural properties.
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MAP posted-by: Matt