Idaho Moves To Add Extra Illegality To Cannabis Ads


In a warning for broadcasters who had been warming to the idea of marijuana advertising, Idaho lawmakers have introduced legislation aimed at criminalizing the advertisement of services or products illegal in the state, such as cannabis.

This move comes in response to the growing presence of marijuana ads in Idaho, despite its prohibition at both the state and federal levels, as surrounding states like Washington, Montana, Nevada, and Oregon have legalized recreational marijuana.

The bill, co-sponsored by State Representative Judy Boyle and Senator Chris Trakel, seeks to amend Idaho state criminal law to permit misdemeanor charges against anyone who knowingly advertises illegal products or services. The House State Affairs Committee has already moved to introduce the bill, setting the stage for a comprehensive hearing and the opportunity for public testimony.

With federally-issued licenses, radio stations are ultimately subject to federal regulations. While some states have legalized marijuana, it remains classified as an illegal controlled substance under federal law. The Federal Communications Commission has already informally advised broadcasters to tread carefully, emphasizing the conflict between state legalization and federal restrictions.

Airing cannabis-related advertisements could potentially result in felony charges. If passed, Idaho’s legislation would be immediately enacted. While the bill is not anticipated to significantly affect state or local government finances, it could potentially benefit county sheriffs through collected fines.


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