Advertising restrictions lead cannabis companies to get creative

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Marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, and the Federal Communications Commission, which regulates traditional television and standard radio, generally frowns upon broadcasters accepting marijuana ads regardless of the plant’s legal status in the broadcaster’s state.

So when the wildly popular Felger & Mazz show on 98.5 FM The Sports Hub goes to commercial break, listeners in their cars hear ads for weight loss programs and drain cleaners. But people who listen to the web-based podcast version of the show later on hear Sports Hub personality Jim Murray pitching a cannabis delivery service.

“Getting cannabis in Boston has always been a hassle, but Lantern has changed the game. I can now get my cannabis discreetly delivered right to my door the same day I placed my order,” Murray says in an ad for the cannabis delivery company that began as an independent subsidiary of alcohol delivery service Drizly.

During other ad breaks during Sports Hub podcasts, listeners hear promotions for Lazy River Products, a Dracut marijuana retailer. All of the legally required disclosures make the ads twice as long as others, so listeners now have to hit the “skip ahead” button twice to get back to their podcast.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau said last month that the cannabis sector, which includes CBD, “is on a hyper growth path” thanks to the spread of legalization efforts, an influx of investment money and mainstream products backed by icons like Snoop Dogg, Jay-Z and Martha Stewart.

“The result? Pervasive availability, rapid de-stigmatization, mainstream consumption, and a new growth opportunity for advertisers,” the firm said.

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