Opportunities to advertise California CBD, hemp, and cannabis have expanded significantly this year. Los Angeles marijuana businesses interested in tapping into these new marketing opportunities may find success in reaching wider audiences – but they still must be cautious in their approach. Smart sellers will run their ads by their cannabis business lawyer for review before publishing to ensure they aren’t running afoul of the patchwork of rules and regulations surrounding these ads.
Earlier this year, Twitter became the first social media company to allow cannabis companies to market their brands/products to customers in the U.S. Prior to that, the company had allowed advertising for hemp-derived CBD products – and only topical ones at that.
Now, Meta, the parent company of Instagram and Facebook, as well as new social networking platform Threads, announced it will allow cannabis advertising – but only for non-ingestible CBD products. Restrictions on hemp advertisements on these platforms are also easing. In a written statement announcing the new approach, the company said so long as the CBD products contain no more than 0.3 percent THC per the federal standard, it can be advertised – subject to certain rules.
Among the Meta rules for CBD and related products advertising for CBD companies:
- No targeted marketing of CBD products to people under 18.
- Be in full compliance with all local laws and regulations, as well as industry guidelines.
- Products are certified with Legitscript, a company that oversees/approves lab testing by third parties.
- Meta has given its written approval for such advertisement.
- Avoid claims – express or implied -that CBD products can cure, treat, prevent, lessen, or diagnose any medical condition or disease in people or animals.
As for non-ingestible hemp products, such as fiber and seeds, businesses will no longer need to obtain written approval to run marketing campaigns of their products in the U.S., Mexico, or Canada.
The company is also no longer requiring that CBD ads serve the purpose of educating, advocating, or giving public service announcements, as was the previous policy, so long as they aren’t selling any illegal CBD products.
As for cannabis, Meta is still currently prohibiting any promotions that advertise cannabis products containing more than 0.3 percent THC or any related psychoactive elements.
Google, meanwhile, has also relaxed its cannabis marketing rules – at least as it relates to FDA-approved CBD pharmaceuticals and hemp-derived topical CBD with less than 0.3 percent THC content. Legitscript certification is also required for Google Ads, and if you mention words like “cannabis,” “weed,” “marijuana,” and a few others, you can be penalized by the algorithm.
This move aligns Meta more closely with the policies of other social media platforms, with one big exception: TikTok. While there are some cannabis retailers who promote their products on the platform, they’ve gotten fairly creative about it, using clever euphemisms and symbols and focusing on education rather than sales. Using the word “cannabis” or showing clear cannabis imagery is strictly prohibited by the platform. And if you do decide to chance it, there’s always a risk, however, that the platform will identify your content as a violation of their terms and services and have you banned. Sometimes even if accounts aren’t outright banned, they may be “shadow-banned,” which is when the algorithm makes it so your content is only visible to those who seek it out directly.
If you have any uncertainty about whether your ads – or ideas for ads – will hold up to all relevant laws, industry regulations, and platform policies, run them by a Los Angeles cannabis business lawyer first.
The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, ancillary companies, patients, doctors and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.
More Blog Entries:
Twitter Marijuana Advertising Rules Still Restrictive, April 5, 2023, Los Angeles CBD Advertising Lawyer Blog