Twitter has become the first social media platform to allow cannabis-related advertising, opening a new avenue for legal marijuana businesses.
On Wednesday, February 15th, the social media site announced that it would begin allowing cannabis business accounts to promote their products on the platform. In a statement, Twitter said it wanted to ease back on its Cannabis Ads policy “to create more opportunities for responsible cannabis marketing.”
“Going forward, Twitter is allowing advertisers to promote brand preference and informational cannabis-related content for CBD, THC, and cannabis-related products and services. We look forward to helping more customers unlock the power of Twitter Ads to connect with the cannabis conversation and drive their business forward,” the company wrote in a blog post.
Prior to the decision, Twitter had only permitted advertising hemp-derived CBD topical products, which was still a step removed from advertising policies of other big-name companies like Google, Facebook and Instagram. These platforms maintain a strict “no cannabis advertising policy” given the “federally illegal” status that marijuana still maintains in the United States.
Twitter’s policy decision comes as Elon Musk moves the platform toward fewer content restrictions, many states are moving toward legalizing cannabis use, and others are decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use. But federal law still bans cannabis use and sales, making marijuana’s place in mainstream culture even more complicated.
Who can advertise cannabis products on Twitter?
Twitter’s cannabis advertising policy update will allow approved cannabis advertisers to target the US and Canada, “subject to the following restrictions:
- Advertisers must be licensed by the appropriate authorities, and pre-authorized by Twitter.
- Advertisers may only target jurisdictions in which they are licensed to promote these products or services online.
- Advertisers may not promote or offer the sale of Cannabis (including CBD – cannabinoids)
- Exception: Ads for topical (non-ingestible) hemp-derived CBD topical products containing equal to or less than the 0.3% THC government-set threshold.
- Advertisers are responsible for complying with all applicable laws, rules, regulations, and advertising guidelines.
- Advertisers may not target customers under the age of 21.”
Furthermore, cannabis-related advertisements that are allowed, subject to the above restrictions, “must in addition:
- Not appeal to minors in the creative, and landing pages must be age gated and sales must be age verified.
- Not use characters, sportspersons, celebrities, or images/icons appealing to minors.
- Not use minors or pregnant women as models in advertising.
- Not make claims of efficacy or health benefits.
- Not make false/misleading claims.
- Not show depiction of cannabis product use.
- Not depict people using or under the influence.
- Not encourage transport across state lines.”
Needless to say, Twitter is still keeping a tight leash on the new movement towards a freer advertising space for cannabis businesses. Still, this is a huge step for advertisers in the cannabis industry who, up until now, have had to market their products in indirect or symbolic ways to avoid getting banned.
Many people had questions about what being allowed to advertise cannabis products on Twitter entails:
How will they handle US companies as cannabis is still federally illegal so while it may be legal in some states, in all states they would be in violation of federal laws. Does this mean no US cannabis companies for now? @elonmusk @Twitter
— Jennifer Strahan (@j_grieshaber) February 15, 2023
While others had… different questions:
Was this announced at 4:20?
— Dan Saffer (@odannyboy) February 16, 2023
The blue bird brand’s big move has already “sparked up” conversations, and users across the cannabis community are connecting on social media to discuss what this means for cannabis businesses and consumers. Will we see other social media platforms join Twitter’s movement? Will less stringent policies on promoting cannabis products have a positive effect on the cannabis industry? Much remains to be seen, but it is certainly an exciting time for cannabis advertisers and businesses looking to expand.
Want to discuss ways you can take advantage of new and emerging opportunities for your cannabis business? Reach out to Cannabis Brands today for a free consultation!
About Cannabis Brands
Cannabis Brands serves cannabis B2B corporations including labs, growers, and distributors providing award-winning marketing communication strategies that give you the competitive edge. Cannabis Brands is a branding, digital marketing and inbound marketing firm, specializing in the cannabis industry. Cannabis Brands provides branding, website development, digital advertising, inbound marketing, SEO and video production services. Grow your cannabis business with proven cannabis marketing and advertising strategies. Contact Linda Fanaras, CEO/Strategist at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit Cannabis Brands to learn more.