DOJ’s Memo Turns up Heat on Marijuana Prosecutions – How are Advertisers Affected?

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has issued a memo directing federal prosecutors to enforce all the laws related to marijuana activities, in states where marijuana is legal for either medical or recreational use. Even though some states have removed state law restrictions on the sale or use of marijuana. Marijuana remains illegal under Federal law and is classified as a “Schedule 1” drug.

How are the advertisers affected? According to David Oxenford’s Broadcast Law Blog, because marijuana is illegal under Federal law and broadcasters are Federal licensees, running advertising for a substance that is generally illegal to use or possess under Federal law poses real risks for broadcast licensees.  Last week’s action by the DOJ means that it’s unlikely the Department of Justice or the Federal Communications Commission will give explicit clearance to radio and TV stations to air marijuana commercials in 2018.