First-ever TV pot ad yanked by Colorado station

July 21, 2015, 9:00 PM UTC
Marijuana Supporters March In Hemp Parade
BERLIN - AUGUST 07: A man smokes licenced medicinal marijuana prior to participating in the annual Hemp Parade, or "Hanfparade", in support of the legalization of marijuana in Germany on August 7, 2010 in Berlin, Germany. The consumption of cannabis in Germany is legal, though all other aspects, including growing, importing or selling it, are not. However, since the introduction of a new law in 2009, the sale and possession of marijuana for licenced medicinal use is legal. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
Photograph by Sean Gallup — Getty Images

Monday was almost a landmark day in marijuana legalization books: what is said to be the first ever TV ad for recreational marijuana was scheduled to be broadcasted on an ABC affiliate in Denver, where state law allows recreational pot use.

But the plans were cancelled on Friday due to legal concerns, according to the Denver Post.

The advertisement for the recreational marijuana company Neos doesn’t explicitly show or mention marijuana, using words such as “relax” and “recreate” instead of “toke up.” It seems to appeal to a broad demographic of young adults, showing footage of people hiking, partying, and camping. The advertisement encourages viewers to “now enjoy the best effects and control with Neos portable vape pen and recreate discreetly this summer.” Viewers are also encouraged to “recreate responsibly.” You can watch the ad here.

Even though the ad leaves the drug out, E.W. Scripps Company, which owns the local station, voiced concerns that the legalities of advertising a state-allowed — but federally-forbidden — substance are muddy, given that the federal government regulates the airwaves. “We are proud to be a company of free speech and open expression, but we have concerns about the lack of clarity around federal regulations that govern broadcast involving such ads,” a spokeswoman, Valerie Miller, told CNN Money.

Marijuana advocates have faced problems like this before on account of the clash between state and federal law. In June, the Colorado Supreme Court issued a ruling for an quadriplegic employee who was fired for using medical pot outside of work, even though medical marijuana was legal at the time. The court ruled that the company, Dish Network, could fire the employee because his self-medication still violated federal law.