As though the federal government doesn’t do enough to remind us on a consistent basis that they still get the final say on legal cannabis, the United States Postal Service (USPS) of Oregon made sure to remind newspapers of their on-going federal crime.
According to federal law, it is illegal for any newspaper to run a paid advertisement for the “illegal” distribution of a schedule I drug. Unfortunately, federal law does trump state law, leaving us with the fact that on a federal level, yes it is still illegal to run paid ads for the dispensaries and other shops.
The fact that only Oregon’s USPS has decided so far to issue a warning is interesting – Colorado and Washington have both had legal marijuana for more than a full year and there have been paid advertisements running in the papers since the shops opened up. If the USPS decides to make this a nationwide reminder we could be looking at a much stricter advertising method for cannabis culture.
Newspapers in these areas make a great deal on advertisements, especially for the newly found marijuana industry. If they were forced to stop running ads for these companies they would be losing a significant amount of their regular revenue – though I suppose that’s better than federal prison for running an advertisement.
Though, if the papers decided not to stop running advertisements could there be a way around this? For example hiring a private distributor for the paper rather than delivering it via the regular postal service? It could be a little more costly and the price of advertisements would likely have to go up – but would it be worth it to keep these companies who rely on one another afloat?
Without advertisements, the newspapers likely don’t make a ton of money – sure they get some for subscriptions and the sales in convenience stores or newspaper boxes – but I can almost guarantee the majority of their revenue is advertisements and classifieds.
Without newspapers, the cannabis industry is still stuck underground in a way – it’s not really helping to bring a legitimate feeling to the industry when we keep burying it like it’s something to hide still. These dispensaries rely on advertisements to bring in new customers both local and visitors alike.
If the USPS stands in the way, they will both be forced to give up a large portion of their earnings or they will have to find a new way to distribute the papers (if that was even a truly cost effective method).
It is unreal how many struggles marijuana reform still faces in this day in age – hopefully soon the cannabis plant will be properly scheduled on the controlled substance list and these problems won’t even exist.