If California legalizes pot, will TV ads be far behind?

The Sacramento Bee
By Jeremy B. White

California was the first state to allow medical marijuana. Now, two decades later, voters are expected to be asked whether to legalize recreational use of the drug. The legalization measure headed for the statewide November ballot is the product of months of negotiations between drug-law reformers, growers and distributors, famous financiers and politicians. Here’s a primer.

As the marijuana company conceived it, the ad for pot vaping pens would have beamed into the living rooms of Coloradans watching Jimmy Kimmel one night last July.

The spot depicts people partying in a nightclub and backpacking as a voiceover suggests people are “always finding new ways to relax” and could use a way to “recreate discreetly this summer.”

But vape vendor Neos’ plans for reaching customers collided with the television network’s nervousness about recreational pot.

In legalizing recreational adult use via a 2014 ballot initiative, the people of Colorado had thrust the state into a nebulous and unprecedented legal middle ground. Voters established a new industry under the shadow of federal prohibition. With a federally granted broadcasting license at stake, the ABC affiliate planning to run the ad balked.

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