A bill introduced in the U.S. Senate on Thursday would allow written marijuana advertisements in states where cannabis is legal. Oregon Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley joined with Reps. Earl Blumenauer and Suzanne Bonamici to introduce the Marijuana Advertising in Legal States (MAILS) Act, aimed at overturning a U.S. Postal Service ban on newspapers containing cannabis ads.
The ban came to light last December when the Postal Service sent out a memo to newspaper offices in legal states, warning them that printing paid advertisements for cannabis could be a violation of federal law.
The bill would amend the Controlled Substances Act so that restrictions on advertising would not apply to cannabis-related activities that are in compliance with laws at the state level.
Wyden introduced the bill to protect “law-abiding Oregonians and small business owners," and to address concerns from local and federal officials from legal states.
“Our bill updates the federal approach to marijuana, ending the threat to news publications that choose to accept advertising from legal marijuana businesses in Oregon and other states where voters also have freely decided to legalize marijuana,” he said.
Merkley also spoke out against federal regulations that limit the capabilities of legitimate cannabis companies:
“Oregon voters have made it clear that they support marijuana legalization, but in area after area, federal regulation makes it difficult for legitimate marijuana businesses to operate. It’s time the federal government starts updating its rules and regulations in states where marijuana is now legal.”
The bill came swiftly on the heels of a letter sent to the Postal Service by the same group of lawmakers asking the agency to identify the statute that gives the USPS the authority to restrict advertisements for businesses that are legal at a state level.
In addition to the Oregon Congress members, the bill is being cosponsored by a pair of bipartisan cannabis supporters from California, Reps. Jared Huffman, Democrat, and Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican.