Denver TV Station Refuses to Air First-Ever Recreational Pot Ads

By Victoria Kim 07/22/15

Commercials for a local dispensary and a vape pen have been suspended indefinitely.

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A Denver TV station decided they will not be airing what would have been the first-ever TV commercials related to recreational cannabis, due to fears of prosecution for using federally licensed airwaves to advertise a substance that is still illegal at the national level.

ABC affiliate KMGH-Channel 7 had initially put the ads on hold, but ultimately decided to nix them indefinitely, The Cannabist reports. The two commercials were for The Green Solution, a dispensary chain in Colorado, and Neos, a vendor of vape pens loaded with cannabis oil.

The parent company, E.W. Scripps, said in a statement that it is “proud to be a company of free speech and open expression, but we have concerns about the lack of clarity around federal regulations that govern broadcast involving such ads.”

In March 2014, the first-ever medical marijuana commercial in the U.S. began airing in New Jersey on major networks like CNN and the Food Network.

So far, no TV station has agreed to air recreational cannabis related advertising. But TV stations like KMGH and another Denver station, KUSA-Channel 9, have not totally dismissed the possibility of airing such ads in the future. “That’s not to say that if the federal government decides to legalize marijuana … we’ve talked about it a number of times,” Mark Cornetta, head of KUSA told The Cannabist.

“In the old days, Mary Tyler Moore and Dick Van Dyke slept in separate beds, now we have Viagra ads,” KMGH vice president and general manager Brad Remington said. “Things evolve.”

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr