U.S. Broadcasters Can Now Air Cannabis Ads

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The House last week passed an appropriations bill that will allow U.S. radio and television broadcasters to air cannabis advertising without being penalized by the Federal Communications Commission.

Specifically, it bars the FCC from using funds to deny, fail to renew or decline broadcasting licenses because a station broadcast or otherwise transmitted advertisements for a business selling cannabis or cannabis-derived products in a state or jurisdiction where medical or adult-use recreational cannabis has been legalized.

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) released a statement in support of the new laws for broadcasters.

"For too long, local broadcasters have been stuck in a regulatory purgatory because of conflicting federal and state cannabis laws. Today’s passage marks an important step towards allowing broadcasters to receive equal treatment for cannabis advertising that many other forms of media have enjoyed for years,” said NAB spokesman Alex Siciliano. “While we are pleased to see the House act, broadcasters will continue to work with policymakers for a permanent resolution to this competitive disparity to the benefit of consumers.”

Many other media platforms including pay TV and internet have been able to run cannabis ads in states where cannabis is legal. But broadcasters are reliant on FCC licenses to operate and since cannabis is still illegal under federal law, they had, until now, declined to run cannabis ads since it could mean losing their licenses or criminal charges.

As High Times points out, the laws prohibiting the FCC from punishing broadcasters for airing cannabis ads will only be in effect until next year and will need to be reauthorized each year.

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