David Becker / AP
Published Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017 | 7:20 p.m.
Updated Friday, Sept. 1, 2017 | 11:54 a.m.
Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air will begin running marijuana advertisements in its in-flight magazines starting Friday, a company spokeswoman confirmed today.
Acres Cannabis, a Las Vegas dispensary that opened in May, will be the first weed-related advertising to find its way into a major airline’s magazine when it appears in a full-page ad in Allegiant’s Sunseeker magazine, company CEO John Mueller said. The ad is scheduled to run through the end of October.
“The campaign creates another first for the marijuana industry and helps propel all of us toward mainstream acceptance,” Mueller said.
Thursday’s news comes as debate surrounds pot’s place in the aviation sector. Adults can legally possess and use up to one ounce of marijuana flower, or one-eighth ounce the THC equivalent in Nevada. But that stops at TSA, where the plant remains illegal under federal law.
In an Aug. 2 meeting, Clark County commissioners detailed a hard-line stance on the commission’s intention to ban marijuana ads at McCarran International Airport, citing a vaguely worded ordinance proposal that was later discussed by the county’s 12-member Green Ribbon advisory panel.
The ordinance has yet to pass, meaning marijuana advertisements would be allowed in and around McCarran, according to Nevada Dispensary President and Green Ribbon panelist Andrew Jolley. As Allegiant’s airplanes are their own property, and not that of the airport, Jolley believes such ads would not be in conflict with local ordinances.
“I assume the airplanes and magazines themselves would not be considered airport property,” Jolley said.
While airliners are subject to some local ordinances, their ultimate regulator is the Federal Aviation Administration. Reached for comment Friday morning, FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said magazine advertising is “not an issue” that the authority prioritizes.
“We are a safety agency,” Gregor said via email.
But for Allegiant, which operates multiple weekly flights to over 100 airports across the U.S., the new advertisement was nothing more than a business transaction. Spokeswoman Krysta Levy said the company does not anticipate any retribution from federal authorities.
“We are a publisher, and they are an advertiser,” Levy said. “The decision to allow Acres Cannabis to advertise in Sunseeker comes with no endorsement of the company or its products.”
Representatives from McCarran did not immediately respond to requests for comment.