Denver Bans Outdoor Marijuana Advertisements

Sidewalk ads outside a west Denver medical marijuana dispensary advertise low prices and "Clones Galore!", Aug. 13, 2012. (Credit: Kristen Wyatt/AP Images)

The Denver City Council is making it more difficult for medical marijuana dispensaries to advertise their product.

On Monday, the City Council voted to ban all outdoor advertisements for medical marijuana. In addition to a ban on billboards or general advertisement devices, the City Council voted to ban medical marijuana or medical marijuana infused products anywhere in the city where the ad is visible to the public from the street, sidewalk, park or any other public place.

That includes handheld signs or fliers left on cars. The Denver Council approved the ordinance 12-0.

Councilwoman Debbie Ortega told ABC News her decision came after she was "confounded by sign spinners advertising 'free joints' for an adjacent medical marijuana business."

"This type of advertising is both disturbing and unsightly. I became very concerned for the children in my neighborhood and throughout the Denver community," Ortega said.

The councilwoman said she was concerned that ads could lead people to believe anyone is eligible for a "free joint."

"I decided that Denver has a responsibility to protect our kids from being exposed to medical marijuana advertising and from being targeted as long term customers," Ortega told ABC News.

According to councilwoman Ortega, "the legislation does have exceptions which will allow the business to advertise in newspaper ads, such as Westword and other publications. "

According to The Associated Press, "Delaware, Montana and Vermont ban marijuana advertising, though Montana's ban is under legal challenge. Washington state bans physicians from advertising that they recommend the drug. Doctors that violate that state's advertising ban can face sanctions from the state Department of Health."

"The ordinance went into effect immediately and enforcement is handled by Denver's Department of Excise and Licensing," Amy Raaz, the policy director for Councilwoman Ortega, told ABC News.