Twitter recently garnered a great deal of praise for being the first social media giant to revisit its marijuana advertising rules, opening the door to industry promotion of brands and informational content related to THC, CBD, and cannabis-related products and services.
Certainly, this is big news. But our Los Angeles cannabis business consulting lawyers would urge caution before rushing to your marketing firm for content.
Previously, the company only permitted ads for hemp-derived CBD topical products. This was still more progressive than other social media firms. TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook have had (and maintain) a strict no cannabis advertising policy – so long as it remains illegal at the federal level. (This despite the fact that 21 states allow recreational use cannabis – and more are on the horizon.) It’s likely only a matter of time before these other social media platforms adopt policies similar to Twitter’s.
However, despite giving the green light to “approved cannabis advertisers to target the U.S.,” cannabis companies on Twitter still aren’t allowed to advertise their actual products for sale. The only exception is for topical, hemp-derived CBD products that contain less than 0.3 percent THC (which is the government’s threshold for being classified as a CBD product rather than a more heavily-restricted THC product). Undoubtedly, there’s a market for these types of products, but it doesn’t represent the full array of cannabis products and services.
Further, cannabis companies seeking to advertise on Twitter must:
- Have a proper license.
- Pass through Twitter’s ad approval process.
- Limit their target audience to jurisdictions wherein they are licensed to operate.
- Do not target youth under age 21.
Advertisers are NOT allowed to:
- Create ads that promote or depict people using cannabis.
- Display advertising that shows people under the influence of cannabis.
- Claim any sort of efficacy or health benefits.
- Use any celebrities, images, icons, characters, or athletes in their ads that might appeal to children or those under 21.
These are somewhat similar to Twitter’s restrictions on alcohol advertising, although alcohol products themselves can be marketed so long as companies don’t appeal to minors or imply that drinking alcohol to excess is good.
Los Angeles cannabis consulting lawyers recognize that vague language pertaining to celebrities might be especially tough, particularly given that a number of high-profile athletes and celebrities who have cannabis companies or have been vocal supporters of marijuana use might have broad appeal to both adults and minors. For example, few would dispute that Martha Stewart, who launched a line of CBD products in 2020, appeals to a more mature audience. But what about Sha’Carri Richardson, Kourtney Kardashian, or Wiz Khalifa? They’re all adults over 21 themselves, but does their celebrity appeal to people under 21? The answer of course is subjective, and therein lies the concern.
This is where seeking guidance from a cannabis law firm may be to your benefit.
The rules only apply to the U.S. and companies therein. (Other countries, like Canada, that have more cannabis freedoms have broader leeway to advertise the products on social media platforms.)
Meanwhile, Google has also revised its advertising policy for marijuana companies, allowing FDA-approved CBD drugs and topical CBD products with less than 0.3 percent THC to advertise their products. However, these ads are strictly confined to markets in California, Colorado, and Puerto Rico. (Twitter’s previous CBD product ad policy also limited markets to 7 states – including California – but that restriction has since been removed.)
If you are a Southern California cannabis company hoping to advertise on Twitter, our Los Angeles cannabis business lawyers provide consulting to help ensure your ads are aligned with the law as well as the policies of advertising platforms.
The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, ancillary companies, patients, doctors and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.