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420 with CNW — Colorado Bill Seeking to Silence Social Media Posts on Marijuana Raises Concern

A conservative think tank in Colorado has voiced worries about a proposed measure that could have an impact on internet discussions of cannabis and associated products, including hemp. The bill, SB24-158, covers various aspects of internet regulations, including content policies and age verification. A noteworthy clause in it targets social media companies, mandating that they immediately take down any content that sells, promotes or endorses narcotics that are considered illegal.

The definition of “illicit substance” in the bill is expansive, encompassing not just illegal drugs but also substances regulated in the state. It broadly refers to controlled substances categorized under schedules I to V as per state law. Consequently, the bill’s impact would extend to state-legalized cannabis, specific psychedelics legalized through a recent ballot measure, and even some over-the-counter (OTC) medications, including cough syrups containing controlled substances such as codeine.

Additionally, the measure places restrictions on the amount of THC and the ratio of CBD to THC in specific hemp products, imposing restrictions on hemp-derived products meant for human consumption.

Should the bill become law, businesses would be obliged to declare the prohibition of promoting, selling or advertising illicit substances on their social media platforms.

The R Street Institute has expressed concerns about the proposed legislation, claiming that its ambiguous language addressing marketing and the expansive categorization of illegal substances could cause misunderstandings and possible violations of free expression. It points out that the strict language in the measure may make it more difficult for people to openly express positive opinions about cannabis online or for companies involved in the marijuana industry.

Further, the institute argues that these kinds of limitations would be unconstitutional under the First Amendment since the state would have chosen to outlaw the promotion or advertising of these substances in all media if there were actual risks involved. Instead, it highlights Colorado’s history of embracing cannabis legalization and culture, citing examples such as the auctioning of cannabis-themed license plates with terms such as “GOTWAX,” “HASH” and “420.”

SB24-158, which is expected to be reviewed by the Senate Business, Labor and Technology Committee, is primarily supported by Democratic lawmakers, including Senators Dafna Michaelson Jenet and Chris Hansen, along with Representative Meghan Lukens.

Under the proposed legislation, social media companies would need to update and publicly disclose their policies by July 1, 2025. Any policy amendments would require prompt online publication within 14 days of going into effect. Additionally, the companies would be mandated to provide annual reports to Colorado’s state attorney general confirming compliance with the bill’s provisions regarding regulations and definitions of illicit substances.

The broader marijuana industry, including established entities such as Curaleaf Holdings Inc. (CSE: CURA) (OTCQX: CURLF), is likely to be concerned that retrogressive bills like the one is Colorado are being filed and considered.

About CNW420

CNW420 spotlights the latest developments in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry through the release of an article each business day at 4:20 p.m. Eastern – a tribute to the time synonymous with cannabis culture. The concise, informative content serves as a gateway for investors interested in the legalized cannabis sector and provides updates on how regulatory developments may impact financial markets. If marijuana and the burgeoning industry surrounding it are on your radar, CNW420 is for you! Check back daily to stay up-to-date on the latest milestones in the fast -changing world of cannabis.

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