Marijuana TV ads might be protected from FCC under new bill in Congress

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Marijuana companies might soon have the option of running television advertisements without fear of federal intervention under a new bill advanced by the U.S. House Appropriations Committee.

According to MediaPost, the House committee recently gave the measure – the 2023 Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill – an initial thumbs-up, and the immense spending measure includes provisions that would protect broadcasters from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in states that have legalized marijuana.

Currently, the FCC has the power to revoke the broadcasting licenses of TV and radio stations that run cannabis ads because marijuana remains a Schedule 1 controlled substance.

That’s why there’s been a dearth of cannabis ads on the air to date as opposed to in alt-weekly print newspapers, magazines, billboards and other advertising vehicles.

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The proposed appropriations bill would bar the FCC from using “any of the funds appropriated to the agency for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1 to deny broadcasters a license renewal or station sale application, or require an early license renewal application to be filed” in retaliation for carrying marijuana ads in states where the plant has been legalized, MediaPost reported.

The appropriations bill still must pass the full House and Senate, however, and the measure also doesn’t solve other federal bans on advertising for narcotics found in the Controlled Substances Act.