As more and more states revise their laws to decriminalize or legalize marijuana use (for medical and recreational purposes), and more and more cannabis businesses in those states begin operations, broadcasters have been looking to provide their advertising services to these new companies. But, as we’ve written before (see, for instance, our articles here and here) , marijuana is still illegal under federal law, as is the use of the radio airwaves to aide in its distribution. Because broadcasters are federal licensees, there is a heightened concern that those federal licenses could be jeopardized if broadcasters start accepting such advertising. In the last few weeks, however, there have been some legislative moves on Capitol Hill proposing to remove some of those concerns – but all such efforts have a way to go before broadcasters should consider changing their approach to such ads.
The bill that would seemingly have the potential to lift those restrictions is the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act, a draft bill that would remove marijuana from Schedule I, which is the list of drugs that are prohibited for all purposes under federal law (see draft text here and summaries here and here). While Senate Majority Leader Schumer had indicated that this bill might be considered by the Senate soon, there are many questions as to whether there are sufficient votes to pass the measure, whether there would be enough time to get House approval before the end of the Congressional term, and even whether the President would agree to sign the legislation if passed. Looking at the text, you realize that it is not a simple piece of legislation, as it would change many aspects of government policy to accommodate the proposed change in status of marijuana under federal law. Even if it were to become law, its effect on the advertising of marijuana may not be immediate.
Continue Reading Looking at Legislative Proposals that Would Allow Broadcasters to Accept Marijuana Advertising