Legal cannabis sales in the United States are projected to hit $30 billion in 2022. While the laws governing the industry are different in every state, advertising Cannabis and CBD products is possible. Be sure you are working with an agency that is up to date on all regulations, as the rules vary depending on the platform you use and the states you’re targeting.

CBD and Cannabis Advertising Basic Rules and Regulations

There are different regulations in place for running cannabis and CBD businesses in every state—and for advertising them too. But there are some general principles to follow in all cannabis advertising:

  1. Don’t make specific health claims about cannabis or CBD products
  2. Don’t use animation or characters attractive to children
  3. Don’t target anyone under 21
  4. Don’t target states where your product(s) are illegal
  5. Unless they’re FDA-approved, avoid advertising ingested products

Advertising Cannabis and CBD Online

Not every online platform allows cannabis or CBD advertising. For instance, Google Ads are off-limits whether you’re a retail dispensary or direct-to-consumer (DTC) website.

But you can still use SEO (search engine optimization) tactics and your local Google Business Profile. And Google’s not the only online platform with sometimes contradictory rules.

Social Media Rules Vary by Platform

Major social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter don’t allow cannabis ads. But the CBD rules vary. Twitter currently allows ads for some CBD topical products, with restrictions:

  • Twitter must pre-authorize ads
  • You must be a licensed seller
  • Ads can’t target jurisdictions where you’re not licensed

You can still use social media to build a following by relying on organic traffic, influencer marketing, and hashtags (especially on Instagram and Twitter). Even then, there are some limitations. For instance, Instagram prohibits dispensaries and DTC sellers from posting contact information other than a link to your website in your bio.

Digital Display Ads (Programmatic and Site Direct)

It’s legal to run digital display ads on mainstream websites. Hyper-targeted display ads enable you to aim your message directly at your target audience while ensuring your ads don’t show up where they shouldn’t. That works to your advantage when advertising a dispensary, DTC website, cannabis, or CBD products.

Out of Home Advertising 

Even for recreational cannabis and CBD products, out-of-home (or outdoor) advertising can be an option. Many states are using their alcohol outdoor ad rules when creating rules for CBD and cannabis advertising. But again, the state-by-state rules for dispensary and DTC billboards vary wildly.

For instance, cannabis billboards are legal in California, but only 15-miles or more from the state line. And in Connecticut, where recreational cannabis is illegal, a billboard advertising legal recreational use in Massachusetts was allowed to remain in place despite local protests.

Cannabis Ads on Radio and TV

Cannabis and CBD businesses are beginning to harness the power of local broadcasting. Colorado-based LivWell Enlightened Health successfully ran ads on Denver’s NBC affiliate, KUSA. Connected TV also gives advertisers the opportunity to target compliant audiences with CBD focused ads.

Advertising on streaming radio and TV are a different story. Aside from YouTube’s recent move to loosen its cannabis content rules, the Federal Communications Commission does not allow any cannabis advertisements to be aired on radio or TV commercials.

Keeping Up With Changing Rules for CBD and Cannabis Marketing

The rules regarding cannabis advertising change from place to place and year to year. It’s a lot for any brand to keep up with. Fortunately, you don’t need to do it on your own.

Marketsmith is here to help you navigate the complexities of advertising CBD and cannabis products, whether you’re a manufacturer, dispensary, or DTC retailer. We can help you harness the power of advertising to grow your business. Contact us to get started today.