House Committee Approves Language to Let Broadcasters Air Cannabis Ads in Legal States

The House Appropriations Committee approved an appropriations bill that includes language blocking the FCC from sanctioning broadcasters who air cannabis advertisements in legalized states.

Full story after the jump.

The House Appropriations Committee last week approved the 2023 Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill that includes language prohibiting the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from taking administrative action against broadcasters that accept cannabis ads in states that have legalized cannabis, Media Post reports. Currently, local TV and radio stations cannot accept such ads, while cable, satellite, internet, print, billboard companies, and social media providers are allowed to run cannabis advertisements.   

Under the proposal, the agency would be barred from using funds appropriated for the fiscal year that starts October 1 to deny broadcasters a license renewal or station sale application, or require an early license renewal application to be filed, in reaction to a station’s accepting cannabis ads in jurisdictions where it has been legalized.

In a statement, Alex Siciliano, spokesman for the National Association of Broadcasters, said that while the organization welcomes the committee’s approval, “local broadcasters will continue to work with all policymakers towards a broader resolution of this competitive disparity and in support of our unique service to local communities.”

“We are pleased to see that this bipartisan language has advanced in the House today. As the vast majority of states have legalized cannabis in some form, today marks a long overdue step toward finally allowing broadcasters to receive equal treatment regarding cannabis advertising that other forms of media have had for years.” — Siciliano, in a statement, via Media Post 

The bill still needs to be passed by the full House and Senate and changes are often made to appropriations measures prior to their final passage. According to Media Post, cannabis advertising is projected to total $18.5 billion in the U.S. this year.  

State broadcast associations have formed the Safe Advertising Coalition to push for federal protection for broadcasters who air cannabis ads. 

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