Ad restrictions frustrate medical marijuana companies in Ohio

Late December last year, the staff at Greenleaf Apothecaries received a surprising message from the Ohio Board of Pharmacy.

An advertisement for a talk by one of the company’s employees included the company’s logo. The board considered the image an advertisement for the company, and said that Greenleaf, whose medical marijuana dispensary in the Arena District operates under The Botanist name, didn’t approve the ad with the state ahead of time.

Greenleaf was unaware that their logo was included in material promoting the talk, which was organized by a third party.

The state accused Greenleaf of violating Ohio’s medical marijuana advertising rules, a rare infraction.

Only six other violations are listed in state records. The pharmacy board’s message to Greenleaf was merely an admonishment and a warning to do better in the future. But the story demonstrates how easily cannabis companies can run afoul of marketing rules in a state with a medical marijuana program that’s only two years old.

“Generally speaking, the advertising restrictions are a universal pain point for the (medical marijuana) program here,” said Thomas Haren, a Cleveland attorney who has worked with Greenleaf. [Read more at The Columbus Dispatch]

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