Ad makeover for Washington's marijuana industry –

SoDo pot shops have already begun changing out signs and billboards – bracing for the impacts of a new law that goes in effect on Sunday.

“No sandwich boards, no flags, no sign spinners – the things people are putting value judgments on that they find unappealing or gross,” said Oscar Velasco-Schmitz, co-owner of Dockside Cannabis.

State Senator Ann Rivers, who sponsored the bill restricting marijuana business advertising, says the regulation is akin to restrictions put on alcohol and tobacco industries, and anyone who thinks the marijuana is different is “naïve to think otherwise.”

“I was blown away by what I saw in Seattle,” Senator Rivers said. “There was an ad with a girl used in a sexually suggestive way, and I thought oh my gosh, this could be a real Cole Memo violation.”

She is referring to the federal protection, which allows states to regulate their own adult-use cannabis industries. Pot is still illegal federally, and Cannabis supporters are worried the Trump Administration could crack down at any time.

“Washington is doing so well that [the federal government] won’t enter the state for enforcement unless it’s invited. So we need to keep a clean house so we don’t get unwelcomed attention,” Sen. Rivers said.

She says the new law is intended to protect children.

Signs have to indicate the drugs are for people 21 and older, and will not be able to show pictures of pot plants or use movie or cartoon characters.

Business owners say they recognize the need to protect children, but are concerned this law is really a way to reign in the industry and prevent marijuana from becoming normalized.

“I was a bit concerned because you want to be able to create a traditional business. In order to do

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