Pot businesses in Colorado have discovered that the state’s highway cleanup sponsorship program offers a loophole to a ban on outdoor advertising by the industry. Under state regulations, marijuana companies are prohibited from advertising on billboards, taxis, bus benches, or other media “visible to members of the public from any street, sidewalk, park, or other public place.”

But that ban does not include participation in the state’s Sponsor a Highway program. Under the program, “community and civic organizations, businesses, non-profit organizations, and private citizens” can pay for a state conract0r to conduct the litter cleanup of a particular stretch of state roadway. The fee for the sponsorship varies with the amount of traffic flow on the road.

With a highway sponsorship, companies get a sign proclaiming their participation placed along the roadway by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). The signs, which are five feet wide and four feet high, include space for the sponsoring company’s name or logo. Even with that included space, the “signs are not intended to be an advertising medium, or any kind of forum for public speech or political opinion,” according to the CDOT.

Pot Signs Proliferating

There are more than 280 of the signs across the state, and nearly half

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