Unable To Advertise, Marijuana Dispensaries Sponsor Highways

<p>(AP Photo/David&nbsp;<span data-scayt-word="Zalubowski">Zalubowski</span>)</p>
<p>Glass jars containing various strains of marijuana sit on a counter as sales associate Mattt Hart works at the 3D Dispensary on Friday, Dec. 19, 2014, in Denver.</p>

Colorado's marijuana dispensaries have found a creative way of getting around restrictions on mass advertising: highway sponsorship. KWGN reports the marijuana industry is paying to help cleanup roadways in return for signs advertising their name.

The Clean Colorado Program lets businesses partner with the Colorado Department of Transportation to clean up litter along roadways. CDOT says the program is meant to help "organizations and private citizens to participate in the effort to keep the roadsides and rest areas of Colorado."

There is one other benefit beyond the joys of civic responsibility. Sponsors earn a blue and white sign on the side of the road bearing their name. That might explain why one Denver-area pot shop has spent more than $100,000 for more than 20 road signs.

Alex Person with Silver Stem Fine Cannabis told KWGN the sponsorship is not a workaround to advertise cannabis.

“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. And you could look at it as advertising, but it’s definitely not advertising.”

State law bans the marijuana industry from placing TV, billboard, radio and print ads visible to audiences that may be made up of 30 percent minors or more. Other rules restrict online ads and ads that could be visible outside of Colorado.