Reefer Madness III: Feds Looking to Bust Broadcasters?

She may just be blowing smoke, but one G-woman in California is making threatening noises about dope advertising.

We reported a couple of days ago on increasingly aggressive prosecutorial efforts being launched by Department of Justice officials in California against medical marijuana dispensaries and their landlords. We suggested that it wasn’t much of a stretch to figure that the Feds might eventually also target broadcasters who carry ads for such dispensaries.

Looks like our speculation wasn’t too far off. 

According to a post on the Center for Investigative Reporting website, at least one U.S. Attorney on the Left Coast has concluded that broadcast ads for grass are verboten. The post quotes Laura Duffy, U.S. Attorney for the region including San Diego County, as saying that “[n]ot only is [marijuana advertising] not appropriate . . . it’s against the law.” Ms. Duffy is looking at possibly sending out formal notices to TV, radio and print outlets giving them the formal heads up that they’re violating the law. She was understandably vague about what might happen after that, but did mention criminal prosecution as one possibility. This may not be a direct threat that the Feds are coming, but it’s pretty darned close.

So we’re now looking at the impending collision of two considerable forces: from one direction, we have the Great State of California (and others), satisfied that medical marijuana is a valid, beneficial and humanitarian therapeutic resource; from the other direction, we have the Federal government, still convinced that marijuana is the killer weed in which lurks murder, insanity and death.

And located right at the collision point of these two forces will be broadcasters and their print confrères, clutching the First Amendment.

This is a story that will likely be developing big time in coming weeks. But for now, the restraint we recommended last time around is still the order of the day. Check back here for updates.

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