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Changes to cannabis store advertising laws cost owners thousands

Changes to cannabis store advertising...

SPOKANE, Wash. - Caitlyn Finger has worked at Spokane Green Leaf since it opened three years ago. Since then the logo has changed exactly once, when "its legal" was removed from the front. With the new law that went into effect over the weekend, the logo and almost all the store's advertisements had to be redone.

"We had to take down all of our billboards we had to break contracts early," said Fingers, "we had to get brand new signs outside in a couple of different places."

The new law dictates that stores are not able to use images of the marijuana leaf or any other products on signs, billboards or in the logo's displayed outside the store. Additionally, the law requires signs to contain text that states marijuana is only for those 21 years of age and older.

"Its been a quick journey," said Finger, "but we managed."

She said the store has so far spent over $2,000 getting compliant with the new laws.

The law also states that other forms of advertising such as sign spinners, sandwich boards, inflatable and people dressed up in costumes are not allowed. Billboards can't contain any depiction using cartoon characters or movie characters or anything appealing to children.

Across town, Todd and Elizabeth Byczek, the co-owners of Lovely Buds and Simply Cannabis felt the impacts of the new law in the wallet as well. They say they are out $10,000-$15,000.

They say that because their stores were opened during the second wave of licensing, they had gone all out in their advertising campaign. In line with the laws at the time, they invested in sandwich boards, signs, inflatable marijuana leaves and billboards with their logo. Their logo, like Spokane Green Leaf prominently displayed a marijuana leaf.

Now they have had to re-design 10 billboards spread throughout Spokane and have to takedown the inflatable marijuana leaf and they have a back closet full of now useless sandwich boards.

Despite the financial setback, the Byczeks say they welcome the increased regulations from the state. They want Washington to have a safe and successful cannabis industry, so that it can be used as a positive example when placed under federal scrutiny.

Spokane Green Leaf see's it much the same way, as a regulated industry, changes are just another part of playing the game.

"We don't want to be a negative influence on anyone," said Finger. "We will do what is needed to stay compliant, we are ready to follow the rules. We know that's the deal."