The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) regulates communications made over radio, television, satellite, etc. Currently, the FCC does not allow advertising for cannabis related products – even in states where cannabis has been legalized. The basis for the FCC’s position is that cannabis is still classified as a Schedule I drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and is therefore illegal on the federal level. This is the same reasoning that prevents cannabis businesses from having access to federally regulated banking and from taking federal business-related tax deduction, and from obtaining federal trademark protection for products and services that violate the CSA.
But there is hope on the horizon. House lawmakers recently added language to the FCC’s spending bill for 2023 that essentially would prevent the FCC from taking action against broadcasters in cannabis-legal states that air cannabis advertisements. While this is just one step, it is encouraging to see lawmakers attempt to make federal resources available to legal cannabis businesses. It will be interesting to follow this development and see if there is any trickle down affect to other federal agencies like the USPTO.
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