More rules for pot ads, with little oversight on social media posts

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Stricter regulations are being enforced for Oregon's marijuana businesses when it comes to their labeling and advertising, but there's little direct oversight on their social media posts.

When the Oregon Liquor Control Commission took over licensing and regulation of recreational marijuana in late 2016, pot businesses had to abide by a new set of stricter standards.

Strain names like Girl Scout Cookies or Bruce Banner were not allowed on packaging outside of the store, because those names could be appealing to kids.

"This is for adults and we definitely don't want to throw anything in front of them," said Caleb Tice, with Foster Buds Northeast. "Why try and advertise in an area that's really not going to hit the market that we would want to?"

Social media posts by pot businesses remain relatively unregulated. OLCC says it does not regularly monitor businesses' social media accounts but instead relies on competing businesses and concerned citizens to alert them of any objectionable material posted on sites like Facebook and Instagram.

"(If someone) makes us aware of advertising that may be kind of pushing the boundaries a little bit, when that happens we do engage with those particular retailers and speak to them about what the limits are," said Mark Pettinger, spokesperson for the OLCC's Recreational Marijuana Program.

At High End Market Place in Vancouver, co-owner Morgan Hutchinson has had the store's social media accounts deleted twice. Often times, she says Instagram will delete accounts they see as promoting the drug's use.

"Instagram and Facebook are really strict about prices, you can't really list prices, you can't really sell the product through the channels," she said.

"Other businesses that are not cannabis businesses they have a lot more leeway when they're advertising," said Mariah Martinez, head of marketing for Heavenly Buds, a marijuana grower in Longview.

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