Pierce County Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Martin has ruled that it’s unconstitutional for the state to ban doctors and other healthcare professionals from mentioning or showing cannabis in advertisements.
In her ruling, Judge Martin found that the state’s law banning cannabis advertisement violates both state and federal law by curtailing free speech.
“I find the statute impermissibly overbroad as it chills even informational speech aimed solely at public education,” Judge Martin said in a written decision.
The ruling came in a case brought forth by osteopath Scott Havsy, who took the state to court after the Department of Health sanctioned him for advertising his willingness to authorize individuals to become medical cannabis patients
“The only restrictions that should be placed on professional advertising are to be sure the advertising is not false or misleading,” argues Mark G. Olson, Havsy’s attorney. “Other than that, when the government restricts advertising by professionals, it places a chilling effect on the free flow of information, especially on the Internet.”
The case is likely to soon be before the Washington State Supreme Court, but for the time-being it sets immediate legal precedent throughout the state.