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Cannabis Advertising Legislation Facing Strong Headwinds

NYSBA and other state broadcasting associations continue to seek a legislative solution that will allow stations to accept cannabis advertising under federal law. The proposal, the Safe Advertising Act, will allow stations to accept cannabis advertising consistent with the law of the state in which they are licensed. The bill was introduced earlier this summer by Sen. Ben Ray Lujan (D NM) (S 4622).

The goal is to attach the Safe Advertising Act to the Safe Banking Act. Federally chartered banks cannot accept funds from legal cannabis businesses without risking losing their federal charter. The banks are essentially in the same position as local stations.

Last week, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell opposed attaching the Safe Banking Act to the National Defense Authorization Act, which was “must-pass” legislation. The issue now shifts to the “Omnibus” appropriations/budget bill.

The “Omnibus” will be a massive bill that covers appropriations for FY 2023. It may also include a number of policy-related issues, including the Safe Banking Bill. Our goal is to get the Safe Banking bill, with our advertising provisions, included in the “Omnibus.”

The first step is for members of Congress to agree on a top-line budget for FY 2023. This is no easy task, as republicans would prefer to wait until next year when they control the House of Representatives. If an agreement is reached, then Congress will begin discussing whether to add additional provisions, such as the Safe Banking Act and the Safe Advertising Bill. If an agreement is not reached, then Congress will enact a “continuing resolution,” which essentially runs the government using last year’s budget language. If this happens, then there will be no additional policy provisions added this year.

NYSBA, along with a number of State Broadcasting Associations will continue to work on this issue up until the end of the session, which could run until December 23rd. Frankly, this is a long shot, but we will keep pushing.



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