KMGH Puts Pot Spots On Hold

Marijuana ads seem as though they are coming, and perhaps soon, to local TV. KMGH Denver gave the green light to a marijuana vendor, but now has put the ultimate decision about whether or not to take the dispensaries' ad spending to corporate. [UPDATE: No, they're not. The running of marijuana ads is on hold indefinitely, KMGH Brad Remington tells, after that review from parent Scripps.]

Late last week, KMGH GM Brad Remington told the marijuana enthusiast site (jeez, I hope the IT guys here don't flag me for going to this site) that the Scripps station had agreed to accept ads "from legal cannabis businesses," and that the first of them would "probably" air within a week.

"We have set some strict guidelines on when these ads can run and the content of the ads," added Remington. "Ads for recreational use, for example, cannot air until after 10 p.m. and cannot show people using the product. We will also accept ads from legal businesses on The Denver Channel, with restrictions.”

The Denver Post noted late last week that the plan was on hold. KMGH is considering spots from two marijuana-related marketers, reports the paper:

The first spot shows real people, not actors, in familiar Denver locations holding signs reading, "I'm a construction worker," "I'm a purchasing manager," "I shop at The Green Solution." The second pitch says, "Neos. Recreate responsibly," over images of Larimer Square, a concert, healthy young people dancing and hiking. A printed graphic cautions "must be 21 or older to consume. Colorado only."

The spots don't show or mention cannabis and would air after the late news, leading in to Jimmy Kimmel Live.

But how will Channel 7 justify using the federally licensed airwaves to carry ads for a substance still illegal at the national level?

"In the old days, Mary Tyler Moore and Dick Van Dyke slept in separate beds. Now we have Viagra ads. Things evolve," Remington said.

Five years ago, Tribune's KTXL Sacramento aired what was believed to be local TV's first marijuana seller ad.

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.