Governor Proposes to Legalize Recreational Cannabis – Advertising Must be Aimed at those 21 Years or Older

As expected the Governor’s budget included extensive legislative language regarding the legalization of cannabis, and cannabis products, for recreational use.  The legislation makes clear that sales must be directed to those 21 years or older.

There is no ban on broadcast advertising.  Nonetheless, the legislation proposes language that could impact the ability of stations to advertise.  For example:

  • On websites, it cannot appear as an unsolicited Internet pop-up.
  • Advertising cannot appeal to anyone less than 21 years of age.
  • Any broadcast advertising, including cable and digital, can only be placed where the audience is reasonably expected to be twenty-on years of age or older, as determined by reliable up-to date audience composition data.

We are working with the Governor’s office to see if some changes can be made.  As drafted it would appear that cannabis advertisements would have to be confined to formats, programs and/or times where people under 21 are not large segments of the audience.  This could be a very difficult task.

Importantly, regardless of New York State law, cannabis is still illegal under federal law.  You have a federal license. Thus, advertising cannabis or cannabis products will place your broadcast license in jeopardy.


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