Can You Accept Pot Ads?


And wouldn’t that be a nice new revenue stream? As states approve the retail sale of marijuana across the United States, these new business owners are looking for ways to stand out in this increasing crowd of sellers. If you get that call with an order to promote pot, what do you do?

You turn down the money. It’s that simple. That’s according to broadcast attorney Frank Montero, Colorado Broadcasters Association President Justin Sasso, and NAB EVP for Strategic Planning Steve Newberry. Montero was moderating a panel at the Radio Ink Hispanic Radio Conference in Miami, Wednesday, that included many important issues facing managers and owners today.

On the marijuana issue, even though a state may have approved the sale of marijuana, you are licensed by the federal government, and the feds consider marijuana a narcotic. Sasso said chances are, if you run the ads and someone complains, you put yourself at risk of facing felony charges. Then, you would have to report that to the FCC, which will not look good come renewal time. Newberry added, “You will not get arrested, but you may lose your license.”

So why are ads popping up on billboards? Well, according to Montero, those billboards are also violating federal law. However, billboards are not regulated by the feds. Montero also said, so far, he hasn’t heard of any radio station getting in trouble for running ads. “To my knowledge there has not been a radio test case.”

Tomorrow: Can you run ads for CBD oils?


  1. Like, does that suggest we will be getting some creative, blow-minding stoner ads? I mean, like, skull-warping, “theatre-of-the-mind” stuff?
    Oh, wow, man. For sure! I can dig that!
    That’s really far out!
    (Gotta continue keeping an eye out for the federal narcs, man. They are still being kept in training rooms and being shown the movie “Reefer Madness” until they puke, surrender and roar out here to uphold the God-given Law.)

  2. What Montoya said is that the FCC has not pursued any stations to date, Johhny. Lay off the narcotics and take a reading course. 😉

  3. If you separate your on-air stream when you break for spots, you could run a pot ad on the stream with no issue. Streams are not regulated by the feds. There’s a station “” that is totally marijuana based. Because they’re non-profit, they don’t run ads, but do run sponsorships.

    • Other way around.

      Commerical streaming is interstate commerce which is federally regulated. The Denver stations mentioned below block ads on their stream so that they are only heard within the confines of Colorado.

  4. In Texas, pot is illegal, but we have our own issues.

    CBD (Cannabidiol) shops are popping up all over and want to advertise.

    Opioid based Kratom can be purchased at tea stores, convenience stores and Head Shops that sell pipes, papers and “accessories” for tobacco based products.

    Can we air their commercials without risk?

    No-one seems to know.

    If you think you do, send me an e-mail.

  5. Montoya not really an expert then if he claims there’s been no radio test cases.

    Max Media’s Flo 107.1 has plenty of dispensary ads on in Denver. There’s also been a few stations in Colorado themed towards Marijuana with lots of other weed ads like Blazin 98.5 Colorado Springs and the defunct Smokin 94.1 in Denver.


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