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I received an advertisement in my mailbox for a dispensary located in a different state (Michigan), where marijuana is legal. However, where I live it is illegal for both recreational and medical use. How is this legal? Is it a case of first amendment? But it's a drug, and alcohol and tobacco are heavily regulated in advertising.

I can understand an advertisement for something like a casino, where gambling might not be allowed in the mailee's jurisdiction, but the gambling would only be conducted in the business - they're not potentially bringing it home. Whereas the whole point of a dispensary is to sell products, which are not consumed in the store (public consumption is illegal in Michigan). Advertising across state lines would appear to be a federal issue - and federally it would still be illegal.

I did find this site, but of course they do not have Indiana. Michigan appears to have no restrictions.

EDIT: One of the suggested questions (which of course did not come up in earlier searches referenced this court case, which seems to cover the situation I was looking for, although I am still trying to interpret it.

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  • Products sold in dispensaries can be consumed in private locations, like your friend's home or hotel room. I don't see how it's different from a liquor store, which isn't usually licensed for on-premises consumption, you usually can't drink in public or in your car, so you take it home.
    – user71659
    Oct 29, 2023 at 4:05
  • @user71659 - I agree, an analog of this question would be a liquor store mailing advertisements to residents in a dry county - except if the dry county was Prohibition-level dry.
    – IronEagle
    Oct 29, 2023 at 4:13
  • @user71659 - Actually, a better analog might be advertising alcohol in a high school - sure, there is a small presence of those who could consume it legally, but the intent to a layperson would seem self-evident.
    – IronEagle
    Feb 6 at 23:36

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Not exactly related to mail advertising, but the Indiana's Broadcasters Association has issued a memo that states :

I live in a border county to another state that allows cannabis purchasing. Can I take advertising for cannabis from another state?

According to the National Association of Cannabis Businesses’ standards, which is considered best practice for advertising CBD and cannabis, ads that specifically target people located outside the applicable licensing state are prohibited.

The relevant statements from the NACB archive in Standards 2 read

2.0.4.i A Cannabis Establishment shall not engage in advertising that encourages persons to transport Cannabis or Cannabis Products across state lines. 2.06.c A Cannabis Establishment shall not engage in advertising that specifically targets persons located outside the licensing state.

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  • So at least for TV / Radio it's prohibited. Interesting find, thank you! (I'm still looking for if mailings (especially using USPS) are allowed, but this is proof that it varies based on advertising type).
    – IronEagle
    Oct 29, 2023 at 23:28
  • @IronEagle, when you say "prohibited" are you then proposing that business association best practices are law? Yes, published best-practices are often relied upon as to what would be reasonable and proper, but unless included (or included by reference) in the relevant statutory language... I don't think they are the law. Nov 2, 2023 at 12:17
  • @JimmyFix-it - True, "not recommended" is probably better than "prohibited".
    – IronEagle
    Nov 2, 2023 at 22:23

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