Signs of the times: Pot shops sponsoring cleanup program on state highways

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DENVER -- Colorado's booming marijuana industry is getting around a ban on some advertising by sponsoring some sections of Colorado highways with new signs.

Dispensaries are very limited in what and how they can advertise, especially when it comes to getting their message out to a mass audience.

But that's not stopping them from teaming up with the Colorado Department of Transportation's program "Clean Colorado."

The signs are popping up along highways all over the state. The dispensaries are paying some big bucks to sponsor the program.

They basically pay for the cleanup of litter along sections of the roadways. In return, they get their signs put up and advertisde their name.

One shop has spent more than $100,000 for more than 20 signs around the Denver area.

"For people to say the cannabis industry is not doing anything for the community , on our side we're spending a lot of money for the general population, something we don't have to do," said Alex Person with Silver Stem Fine Cannabis. "And you could look at it as advertising, but it's definitely not advertising."

State regulations specifically ban any mass media advertising by the marijuana industry, including TV, radio and billboards. The regulation says anything visible where 30 percent or more of the audience might be minors is not allowed.

It's a gray area and CDOT said it's a sponsorship program, not advertising.

The program has saved the state millions of dollars in the effort to clean up the highways.