October 10, 2017
Authored by: Merrit Jones and Vanessa Fulton
In a decision likely to have important implications for regulation of commercial speech, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has blocked a San Francisco ordinance requiring warnings about the health effects of certain sugar-sweetened beverages on fixed advertising.
In American Beverage Association v. the City and County of San Francisco, a three-judge panel held that the California Retailers Association, American Beverage Association, and the California State Outdoor Advertising Association are likely to prevail in their lawsuit challenging the ordinance as violating the First Amendment, and reversed the district court’s denial of a preliminary injunction against enforcement of the ordinance.
The ordinance, S.F. Health Code § 4200 through 4206, was enacted in June 2015 and would require the following warning on any advertisement that “identifies, promotes, or markets a Sugar-Sweetened Beverage for sale or use”:
“WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay. This is a message