Feds clamp down on online ads for drugs on Google

It won't be long before the feds start attacking medical marijuana advertising

Prescription drug abuse is the fastest-growing drug abuse trend in America.  Much of it can be traced to the ease with which one can order all manner of pharmaceuticals over the internet.

(NY Times) Federal regulators are investigating Google on suspicion of illegally displaying ads for online pharmacies that are operating outside the law, government officials said Thursday.

Google has set aside $500 million to pay for a potential settlement, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing the company made on Tuesday. It said the money was for the “potential resolution of an investigation by the United States Department of Justice into the use of Google advertising by certain advertisers,” but gave no details.

OK, so the feds are going after these online pharmacies by attacking them at the source of advertising.  What’s wrong with that?  Well, keep in mind that according to the feds, marijuana is a Schedule I drug with no medicinal benefits…

Web sites are liable for advertising that breaks federal criminal law, according to Eric Goldman, director of the High Tech Law Institute at Santa Clara University.

Not just websites, but also print publications, radio, and television.  Now, if you’re reading this in a medical marijuana state, go open your local alt-weekly and check out the advertising on the back pages.  Or get on the internet and look up any number of pro-medical marijuana websites and the aggregators that serve up listings of medical marijuana dispensaries, like WeedMaps.com.

Google took out $500 million to prepare for a settlement on the advertising of legal prescription drugs being sold illegally. How do you think the Dept. of Justice will handle advertising for illegal marijuana?

View full post on The NORML Stash Blog