After considering running its first commercial related to recreational marijuana, Denver's ABC affiliate has put a hold on all cannabis ads for the foreseeable future.
Jennifer DeFalco, creative director and founder of cannabis marketing agency Cannabrand, said the affiliate had agreed to run a commercial for Neos, a vaporizer and cannabis oil company, before "Jimmy Kimmy Live" last Monday.
Ms. DeFalco said the spot is in accordance with Colorado's Amendment 64, which permits TV advertising if 70% of the audience is at least 21 years old, a test she said "Kimmel" meets.
But there are federal considerations too. "The airways are federally regulated, and since cannabis is still considered an illegal substance federally, that was where the conflict came into play," Ms. DeFalco said.
Valerie Miller, external communications manager for E.W. Scripps, parent of the KMGH affiliate in Denver, said the ad was never completely cleared to air.
"There was consideration by KMGH and Scripps about the possibility of airing marijuana advertising, but the company made the decision to not accept marijuana advertising, and part of that based on federal regulation that lack clarity and kind of the rules and guidelines for the broadcast industry to follow," she said.
Scripps will now stand down on marijuana ads until and unless the feds give the OK, according to Ms. Miller. "I think that'll be based on those federal regulations, and if there are changes or more clarity provided to the media industry to let the industry know one way or another, rather than having uncertainty about it," she said.
Cannabrand has reached out to the Colorado Department of Revenue's Marijuana Enforcement Division for clarification, but TV stations may sit back until the feds give the OK. A similar issue surfaced in March, when Comcast decided against an ad from the Medical Cannabis Network after initially confirming that it would run.
The Neos spot, "Adventurous Life," does not mention marijuana or show any affiliated products, instead showing people at a club, playing guitar and hiking. "We really made it more of a lifestyle spot," Ms. DeFalco said. "We wanted to celebrate and pay homage to Colorado, since it's the first state to legalize the recreational use."