General Mills Courts 420 Crowd In A Way That Cannabis Companies Can't

It's one of those good news/bad news stories for the cannabis industry - the recent appearance of 420-themed General Mills billboard ads in the Denver area.

It's a sign of mainstream acceptance that a large, famous brand like General Mills would associate itself with the most important day of the year for cannabis consumers (though they are playing to stereotypes by using it to advertise a product - Totino's Pizza Rolls - that would appeal to people with the munchies).

But it's also a slap-in-the face for marijuana businesses that can't advertise like this. Andrew Livingston, who works for the Denver cannabis law firm Vicente Sederberg, told Marijuana Business Daily that advertising and marketing restrictions vary across the state, but the statewide prohibition on billboards is clear.

"The only big public billboard or sign that you can have under state law is the one on your zoned lot," Livingston said.

Ean Seeb, co-founder of the cannabis retailer Denver Relief, applauds Totino's efforts, but thinks unfair that its cannabis companies are denied these opportunities.

"I wish the same opportunities were afforded to those of us who are actually in the industry," Seeb told Marijuana Business Daily.

Marijuana businesses continue to seek high profile opportunities to promote their brands, particularly in the world of athletics. A recent high-profile example in Denver is Native Roots' recent pitch for the naming rights to the Sports Authority Field at Mile High, home of the Broncos.

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A non-profit group of over 150 current and former athletes is calling for marijuana to be removed form the World Anti-Doping Agency's prohibited substances list. Medical marijuana legalization is spreading across the US, but most pro-athletes are still prevented from accessing it. That's because most major sports leagues follow drug guidelines set by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which bans athletes from using cannabis even outside of competition.

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