Dead & Company will perform as part of the late-night talk show's televised summer concert series, which takes place in the parking lot behind the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood. And the band, which also counts singer-songwriter John Mayer in its lineup, have invited members of organisations including the California Cannabis Industry Association and Los Angeles medical marijuana collective Buds & Roses, to the performance. They've even been encouraged to wear T-shirts, carry signs and even dress up as giant joints to get the pro-cannabis message across on national television, according to editors at the Los Angeles Times.

Kimmel’s popular show averages about 2.4 million viewers a night, and the band are hoping to push their message beyond their loyal fanbase.

Bob Weir, a founding member of The Grateful Dead said in an interview: “The folks it would be hitting on that broadcast would be outside our normal sphere of influence. We're about music, but we're about other stuff as well, and we always have been. We need to make our feelings on the subject as apparent as we can.”

Programmers and networks don't accept advertising from the marijuana industry, even in states where its use has been legalised.

Dead & Company are stepping up their campaign as Californians will soon have a chance to vote to join states Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington state, and Washington, D.C., which have already legalised recreational, as well as medical, marijuana for adults. However, marijuana use is still illegal in the eyes of the U.S. government.

Bernie Cahill, who manages Dead & Company, said the band members don't want to break any laws or offend viewers.

“They're respectful advocates, and they're very thoughtful in their approach to this entire industry,” Cahill said. “I don't see that changing.”

Representatives for ABC and Jimmy Kimmel Live have declined to comment to the Los Angeles Times.