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Missouri leans on federal law, not state, for medical marijuana advertising


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — As Missouri makes preparations to establish medical marijuana facilities, broadcasters are turning to federal law, not the state’s regulations, when it comes to advertising. 

Broadcasters are licenced with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) — a federal agency — and therefore view marijuana through the lens of federal regulations, said Mark Gordon, President of the Missouri Broadcasters Association (MBA). 

While the Farm Bill signed by President Donald Trump last year did legalize hemp, it didn’t go so far as to include marijuana. 

“There will never be a broadcaster that should take any advertising whatsoever on medical marijuana — or marijuana of any kind — even though it is legal in the state,” Gordon told The Missouri Times. “If you took advertising for medical marijuana and someone filed a complaint with the FCC, then the licensee could be subject to a fine and/or a revocation of their broadcast license because it’s still considered illegal on a federal basis.” 

If and when that changes, Gordon said, then broadcasters could revisit the medical marijuana advertising prohibition. 

Gordon also said broadcasters haven’t reached out to him or the MBA legal hotline to inquire about advertising from a medical marijuana facility. 

A spokesperson for the FCC said the federal agency does “not have specific guidance” on medical marijuana advertising and urged stations to consult with attorneys for “guidance specific to the state in which they broadcast.” 

Missourians approved a constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana in November. The amendment allows physicians to recommend marijuana or marijuana-related products to treat certain conditions, including PTSD, seizures, cancer, epilepsy, and other “chronic, debilitating” symptoms. 

The Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) is tasked with overseeing the program. The state agency will begin accepting applications from caregivers and patients on June 28.  

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