Muni May Trim Marijuana Ads Off S.F. Buses

Mayor Ed Lee is huffing and puffing over cannabis dispensaries advertising on buses, and the SFMTA may ban the ads as soon as this week.

The era of cannabis dispensary ads on Muni buses may soon be up in smoke. A combination of complaints from Mayor Ed Lee and pressure to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) could leave those Muni marijuana ads cashed, according to the San Francisco Examiner, as the SFMTA board is considering a proposal to ban cannabis advertising from all Muni buses, shelters and stations.

The SFMTA board is scheduled to vote on the ban at their Tuesday, Nov. 21 meeting, and Mayor Lee has already voiced his desire to dispense with the dispensary ads on Muni buses.

“I am urging the SFMTA Board of Directors to ban cannabis advertising on all SFMTA property, including Muni vehicles and bus stops,” Mayor Lee said in a statement to the Examiner. “Prohibiting cannabis advertising on public transit is the right policy to protect our future generations and communities of color the same way we have done with alcohol and tobacco ads.”

There are currently 130 marijuana dispensary and delivery service ads on Muni vehicles and shelters. Muni has traditionally been more permissive than San Franciso billboards on allowing cannabis advertising, as most of billboards are not owned locally but by third-party, national operations like Clear Channel and CBS Outdoor.

The SFMTA has been allowing marijuana advertising since 2014, and apparently they’ve heard a few objections.

“We have received a number of complaints about cannabis-related advertising currently on SFMTA property,” SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose told the Examiner. “This proposed revision is intended to respond to these complaints.”

With just six weeks left until recreational sales of marijuana become legal on Jan. 1, 2018, City Hall has been delaying cannabis policies and unable to reach consensus on cannabis legislation even though the Prop. 64 measure approving recreational marijuana passed in San Francisco by nearly a 3-1 margin.

Rose insists this ban would have no fiscal impact on the SFMTA, as the marijuana ads would simply be replaced by other ads. But there could be a little less sour diesel on Muni’s diesel fleet if the marijuana ad ban is passed.

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