NY Cannabis Control Board Issues Advertising Regulations for Medical Cannabis

New York State has authorized the use of both medical and recreational cannabis.  Over the past few months, the Cannabis Board has been meeting to develop rules to govern this new industry.

As part of this process the Cannabis Board has issued regulations governing advertising for medical use cannabis.  We expect that rules governing adult use cannabis advertising will be issued sometime in April.

The rules for medical use advertising focus primarily on prohibiting false and misleading advertisements.  The regulations go into significant detail as to what constitutes a false and misleading advertisement.  The key point is that “all advertising making statements relating to effectiveness, side effects, consequences or contraindications shall present a true and accurate statement of such information.”  The regulations regarding truthfulness and verification are quite detailed.

Medical cannabis advertisements are not permitted if they are in the form of an “unsolicited pop-up internet “advertisement.  This language is not defined, but it may apply to programmatic advertisements that appear on a variety of websites.  Banner advertisements on a station’s website may be permitted.  We need to obtain additional clarification.  In addition, medical cannabis advertisements are prohibited on billboards and on public transit.

Because cannabis remains an illegal drug at the federal level, you cannot run medical use cannabis advertisements without risking your broadcast license.  Even though it is legal in New York, your broadcast license is issued by the federal government.  So long as it remains illegal at the federal level, you place your license at risk by running these advertisements.

NYSBA is working to change federal law with respect to cannabis advertising.  Along with other state broadcast associations we are lobbying to enact federal legislation that will allow stations to accept cannabis advertising consistent with the law of the state in which they are licensed.  The location of a station’s community of license would control.  If a state banned cannabis, then stations in that state could not accept a cannabis advertisement.  In states where medical use has been approved, then a state could accept medical cannabis advertisements.  In states like New York, which has approved both medical and recreational use, a station could accept both types of advertisements.

Under the proposed legislation – the Safe Advertising Act -stations must comply with state regulations governing cannabis advertising.  This is the same approach broadcasting has used for lottery and gaming advertising.  If it is legal in a state, then a broadcaster may accept such advertising.

Again, until there is a legislative change at the federal level, station accepting cannabis advertisements in New York are placing their licenses at risk.  To see the NY Regulations Regarding Medical Cannabis click HERE.


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