Marijuana ads come under fire

The Rhode Island attorney general and drug prevention groups want to end promotional ads for marijuana in Rhode Island after a local compassion center offered customers a break on their bud.

The mood was serene Thursday at the Thomas C. Slater Compassion Center in Providence, but the dispensary is under fire for a marijuana marketing campaign it sent out via email and posted on Facebook.

"It just flies in the face that they're using creative and cute taglines to sell a medicine," said Amy Kempe, spokeswoman for the Rhode Island attorney general.

The discounts offered something for the "winter blues" and a "12 days of Christmas" sale with 30 percent off edibles like candy or cookies laced with pot.

The ads aren't illegal, but Kempe said the ads make pot more appealing to minors. The center promised to stop the ads.

"We certainly don't want to encourage the use of cannabis by anyone that's not medically certified," said Chris Reilly, spokesman for the compassion center. "The patients that come to this facility can't buy an unlimited quantity."

Only those approved by the state Department of Health to purchase or use medical marijuana are allowed inside the facility. The center said the ads weren't to entice new customers, but to help current ones.

"It's all meant to help give people some break on the amount of money that they spend when they come here," Reilly said.

In the future, Slater said it will offer discounts when it can, but be more cognizant of how it gets the word out.