Image via The New Republic

Washington’s rules for recreational marijuana stores get pretty specific about most things, including signage. With all things regulated to the teeth, let’s take a good look at understanding the lengths of the signage restrictions and how best to market your products under such a close watch from the state.

it’s not the size of the signage, it’s how you use it.

The state has limited the size of retail store signs to a maximum of 1,600 square inches, which is just over 11 square feet. Signage is a complicated realm of land use policy that has different rules in different cities and in different zones. Still, the size is pretty small compared to other signs that businesses can use to advertise businesses. Despite the relative size, the rules do not keep businesses from mentioning the purpose of the business. Instead, I-502 encourages it in order to raise awareness to consumers. Just like bars, marijuana customers should also see your signs warning that people under 21 are not permitted on the premises. Enforcement agencies will look for this first and foremost. Besides that, it’s pretty open for how you should cultivate the branding of your store on signage. Find something eye-catching, sure, but always be aware of what customers you want to attract and what they will look for in a trustworthy marijuana store.

slap a label on it.

Product advertising is a little trickier, but also allows for more creativity in the design of the product to attract customers. The Liquor Control Board rules mandated that all product advertising does that to stay away from a number of topics that might seem pretty subjective, so it’s better to play it safe. According to those rules, product labels cannot be misleading, they cannot promote over consumption and they cannot show the use of marijuana to have “curative or therapeutic effects.” The big one that state enforcers will strictly monitor is the restriction from product labels from promoting under age use or attracting it. In a long list, the state bars labels from showing “Objects, such as toys, characters, or cartoon characters suggesting the presence of a child.” Again, this is some pretty subjective stuff, so try not to tread the fine line of government interpretation. Even with those restrictions, the door is still pretty open for how businesses can display their packaged products in store

warnings!

Despite the ‘controlled substance’ thing the federal government continues to claim, marijuana is treated much in the same way as the sale of tobacco and alcohol. Because of the packaging on products must also contain the heft number of warnings meant to educate consumers on the possible dangers of the effect. All advertising must have these warning attached:

  • The product has intoxicating effects and may be habit forming
  • Marijuana can impair concentration, coordination and judgment. Do not operate a vehicle or machinery under the influence of this drug.
  • There may be health risks associated with consumption of this product
  • For use only by adults 21 and older. Keep out of the reach of children

Selling products without these labels is a quick way to pick up a fine or worse from the Liquor Control Board.

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