As the cannabis industry takes shape in California, one place it won’t be able to advertise is on San Francisco’s public transportation.
The Municipal Transportation Agency’s Board of Directors on Tuesday banned ads for cannabis businesses from the transit system’s buses, trains, cable cars, stations and bus stops. The ban was a response to concerns that such ads are inappropriate for young Muni riders and might promote marijuana use among children.
Wilson Chu, president of the Chinese American Democratic Club, which had supported the legalization of both medical and recreational marijuana use in the state, was among those pushing the board to act.
“There are many students that travel on Muni to and from school, and I think it’s a good idea to limit their exposure to these kinds of ads,” Chu told the board.
The board approved the prohibition on a 6-0 vote, with Director Malcolm Heinicke absent. It takes effect Wednesday just six weeks before the sale of marijuana becomes legal throughout the state and covers all commercial advertising of cannabis and related products, businesses and services, and was supported by Mayor Ed Lee.
Board Chairwoman Cheryl Brinkman said the ban was not intended as a statement about recreational marijuana use but was an attempt to protect children riding Muni from being surrounded by its promotion.
“We don’t intend this as any value judgment,” she said. Legalized marijuana “will be the law of the land. But we’re falling in line with what standard advertising practices are.”
Photo: Michael Short, Special To The Chronicle
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An advertisement for Urban Pharm marijuana dispensary is seen on the side of a MUNI bus in downtown