With an ever-increasing number of states legalizing cannabis, especially medical marijuana, more and more cannabis companies are expanding and searching for ways to reach their desired audience. But it is very challenging to be in the cannabis business because there are dozens of advertising restrictions. How can you grow your business if you can’t promote it?
While social media platforms allow organic posts about recreational use, a significant number of those platforms ban paid cannabis ads about recreational substances under any context. You can explore the social media advertising choices available to you using this list of platforms and their strategies on cannabis ads.
YouTube’s Community Guidelines does not specify that you can’t post content about cannabis, which is why you find so many great Weed-Tubers out there. If you’re sharing content about medical marijuana, for instance, you are allowed to do so.
YouTube Help does say video content that promotes illegal drugs and dangerous products or substances is “not suitable” for advertising on the platform. However, you are allowed to share videos that discuss such contents for educational, documentary, and artistic purposes as long as they do not glorify illegal or dangerous use of the product.
Every social media channel has its policy dictating how you can and can’t advertise on their channel, and these strategies are especially restrictive towards cannabis. It leaves an enormous gray area where businesses aren’t exactly sure what is and isn’t acceptable, so most stumble on the side of caution by evading anything that would be questionable. Facebook is the most famous for this because it’s so widely used and, since they own Instagram, both channels take a unified approach, completely restricting cannabis-related advertising.
But, a recent statement sent out by Instagram shows they could be coming around to the plan of a more progressive approach to cannabis advertising. Considering Facebook/Instagram have approached the issue consistently in the past, it could be assumed that if Instagram is following these new guidelines, it’s maintained by their parent company Facebook.
Snapchat’s advertising policies do not offer specific examples, but Snapchat does prohibit ads about illegal or recreational drugs or drug paraphernalia. This means Snapchat won’t allow your cannabis ads to run. However, if you search for “marijuana” or “cannabis” on Snapchat Discover, the platform appears to allow content about those recreational drugs as long as they don’t promote illegal activity.
The advertising opportunities for cannabis businesses are minimal but don’t be discouraged. Research extensively on what’s allowed and contact the social media company whose platform you want to advertise on to see if your content is permissible. Cannabis is a controversial topic, but that doesn’t necessarily mean all cannabis companies are banned from social media circles altogether.