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Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship Stance on 2019 CBD Sponsorship

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CBD (cannabidiol) sponsorships became a hot topic in Monster Energy AMA Supercross this year, as both Dean Wilson and Chad Reed attempted to race showing sponsorship logos from CBD companies, only to run aground of broadcast rules and be told the logos couldn't be shown on television. Eventually, Feld Entertainment and the AMA ruled that, for the time being, CBD sponsorship logos and mentions would be prohibited completely from Monster Energy Supercross events.

Today, MX Sports Pro Racing (sister company to Racer X) announced the product policy for CBD regarding the 2019 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. Following the same broadcasting guidelines as supercross, CBD logos, brands, and names will not be allowed to be seen or heard on the TV broadcasts. However, teams and riders can accept sponsorship from CBD brands and logos can be displayed at the race track, as long as those logos are not seen on the broadcasts.

"Accordingly, until further notice, the signage and promotion of all CBD products on or by riders, team members or their machines remains prohibited," said today's MX Sports Pro Racing press release. "Riders and team members are prohibited from having CBD-related logos or other promotional displays on their person, uniform, gear or motorcycle, or on any other item that may appear in-broadcast. No in-broadcast visual or verbal mention of CBD-related products will be permitted.

"This [broadcast] restriction, however, does not prohibit riders and teams from securing hemp-derived CBD Product sponsors, so long as the aforesaid in-broadcast regulations are complied with. Riders are free to obtain hemp-derived CBD Product sponsors only and may display their logos on their team rigs or in their display areas, make mentions in off-air interviews, and otherwise promote their sponsor."

The December, 2018, Farm Bill legalized cannabidiol (CBD) products derived exclusively from hemp, a member of the cannabis plant family that does not contain more than 0.3 percent of THC (the compound most commonly associated with the psychoactive effects of "getting high"). In other words, CBD products do not produce the high associated with marijuana. While the Farm Bill has legalized CBD, the products are still working their way through many legal loopholes, including advertising and marketing guidelines. 

MX Sports Pro Racing Managing Director Roy Janson said: “We recognize that there is an opportunity for growth in the sport of motocross within the cannabidiol space. Since it is not included on the USADA banned substance list many of our competitors use it as a recovery supplement, so it is only natural that these products and the companies that make them would have interest in investing sponsorship dollars into a team, or individually with a rider. We fully support opportunities like this that benefit our competitors, and while federal regulations are still fluid in regards to the legality of CBD products as a whole, we believe we have provided a much-needed compromise for hemp-derived CBD products and companies to support the sport.”

MX Sports Pro Racing's full statement is below.

The issue has arisen with regard to the efficacy of CBD Product sponsorship of riders and/or teams associated with the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. Currently CBD product sale, use, advertising and promotion is governed by both state and federal regulation, on a state-by-state basis. In December, the 2018 Farm Bill legalized cannabidiol (CBD) products derived exclusively from hemp, a member of the cannabis plant family that does not contain more than 0.3 percent of THC (the compound most commonly associated with the psychoactive effects of "getting high"). The condition for this deregulation is that the hemp be produced by a licensed grower in a manner consistent with Farm Bill guidelines and associated federal and state regulations. All other CBD products, produced in any other manner, remain a prohibited Schedule I substance under federal criminal law and thus remain illegal. 

Although some states legalize all CBD-related products, most states have not. Hence, despite the change in federal law, current broadcast network standards and practices continue to prohibit the in-broadcast advertising or promotion of all CBD products.

Accordingly, until further notice, the signage and promotion of all CBD products on or by riders, team members or their machines remains prohibited. Riders and team members are prohibited from having CBD-related logos or other promotional displays on their person, uniform, gear or motorcycle, or on any other item that may appear in-broadcast. No in-broadcast visual or verbal mention of CBD-related products will be permitted.

This restriction, however, does not prohibit riders and teams from securing hemp-derived CBD Product sponsors, so long as the aforesaid in-broadcast regulations are complied with. Riders are free to obtain hemp-derived CBD Product sponsors only and may display their logos on their team rigs or in their display areas, make mentions in off-air interviews, and otherwise promote their sponsor. All other CBD Products remain restricted and may not be promoted. The intent of this policy is to prohibit the in-broadcast signage or promotion of CBD Products only - not to limit or restrict riders from obtaining legal hemp-derived CBD Product sponsorship.

Riders will be required to cover or remove any logo or image in violation of this policy. Failure to comply will result in removal of the rider and/or team member from the race program. In addition, sanctions may be applied pursuant to the AMA Pro Racing Rules for Professional Motocross Competition for any willful or reckless violation of this policy.

MX Sports Pro Racing understands that this policy differs from that recently issued by AMA for Supercross application and urges riders and teams to make themselves aware of the distinction between the two policies.

Riders and teams are responsible for seeking their own legal counsel with regard to their association with CBD products and promotions, and MX Sports Pro Racing makes no legal representations with regard the legality of same.