This article was updated August 2023
The Ultimate Guide to Advertising Cannabis on Social Media
As we continue to move in a progressive direction, it’s safe to say cannabis brands and businesses should be looking at some prosperous growth over the next few years, no pun intended. Much like any business – your digital footprint follows you around. This is becoming increasingly more important due to the popularity of using social media as a means of promoting businesses.
Advertising cannabis on social media allows your business to reach your target audience, permitting further explanation of the benefits and rewards of using your products. Because we are working with cannabis on a commercial scale, it’s important to know the advertising policies and limitations of each platform.
What is Pinterest pinning?
The limitation with Pinterest is using the platform for the commercial sale of cannabis. Advertisements which encourage or boost the usage of any form of illegal recreational drug is strictly prohibited. Fortunately, Pinterest does allow users to post advertisements promoting the health benefits of Cannabidiol (CBD) and hemp products. However, the only cannabis products deemed appropriate are the byproducts of CBD-only oils and hemp which do not contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Pinterest also permits organic cannabis content with a more artistic or educational nature.1
What’s being said on X?
As of 2023, advertising cannabis on X (formerly known as Twitter) has become more lenient compared to other major platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok. X now allows advertisers to promote brand preference and share informational content related to CBD, THC, and the cannabis industry. However, there are still certain rules and restrictions in place. Cannabis ads are permitted only in U.S. states and Canada where cannabis is recreationally or medically legal. Advertisers must be licensed and pre-authorized by X, and they should target only jurisdictions where they hold licenses.
In addition, advertisers are prohibited from using copyrighted characters or public figures like athletes and celebrities. You also must refrain from targeting anyone under the age of 21. Ensuring compliance with these guidelines can help brands effectively utilize X as a platform for promoting their regulated THC and CBD products.2
What are we Snapping?
The rules and regulations have changed in the recent years when it comes to Snapchat. The one thing that has stuck, is that any advertisements regarding illegal or recreational (pharmaceutical) drugs and their paraphernalia are prohibited. According to their advertising policies, Snapchat does allow some limited ads for cannabis, CBD, and related products.3 Much like X, it must be centered around appropriate targeting and where it is allowed legally to consume. It’s also important to keep in mind that Snapchat does not allow the depiction of smoking or vaping, except in the context of a public health message or smoking cessation.
What are we watching on the Tube?
The rules for advertising cannabis on YouTube have undergone some changes, allowing for more flexibility in promoting cannabis-related content.4 YouTube has loosened restrictions on cannabis content, including “recreational drugs and drug-related content.” However, specific guidelines and limitations still exist. For example, all video ads promoting cannabis-infused products must include the disclaimer “For Adult Use Only.” Additionally, advertisers must comply with applicable laws and regulations, such as targeting users who are above the legal age for cannabis consumption in their respective jurisdictions.
It is important to note that while YouTube has become more open to cannabis-related content, it is essential for advertisers to remain compliant and navigate the evolving landscape of cannabis advertising regulations.
What’s streaming on Reddit?
Reddit has established rules regarding the advertising of cannabis-related products.5 While paid advertisements for cannabis are generally prohibited on the platform, there is an exception for “topical and non-ingestible hemp-derived CBD products” in the United States. This means that advertisers can promote CBD products that are meant to be applied topically or as non-ingestible forms. However, advertisements for products containing THC or CBD for ingestion are not permitted on Reddit. It’s important for cannabis advertisers to adhere to these guidelines to ensure compliance with Reddit’s policies.
What about LinkedIn?
According to LinkedIn’s community guidelines, the platform should not be used for promoting illegal activities, including the promotion of illegal drugs such as cannabis.6 LinkedIn’s advertising policies state that ads must comply with all applicable laws, including those governing the content allowed in ads and how ads are targeted. This means that cannabis businesses cannot run ads related to illegal, prescription, over the counter, or recreational drugs on the platform.
Furthermore, mainstream social media platforms have banned cannabis businesses from purchasing advertising, leading to a need for alternative marketing strategies in the cannabis industry.
However, there have been recent updates, like X allowing properly licensed cannabis brands to advertise, but focusing only on regions where they can operate. It’s crucial for cannabis businesses to stay updated with the latest regulations and advertising guidelines to ensure compliance and responsible advertising practices in this evolving industry.
How’s trusty old Facebook?
The rules for advertising cannabis on Facebook (now known as Meta) have evolved to allow certain types of CBD and hemp-related ads while still imposing restrictions.7 Advertisers can now promote and sell non-ingestible hemp-derived CBD products in the United States, following specific guidelines set by Meta. However, advertisements for THC products or cannabis products containing psychoactive properties are still prohibited. The updated policy permits educational content, advocacy, and public service announcements related to CBD and hemp. It’s important for cannabis businesses to navigate the process of getting their ads accepted on Facebook, as it can be time-consuming and requires compliance with Meta’s advertising policies.
How About TikTok?
Like some other social media platforms, TikTok has strict rules and regulations regarding the advertising of cannabis-related content.8 While TikTok’s Community Guidelines do not explicitly mention CBD or cannabis, the platform has a policy against promoting certain products, including drugs and tobacco. This indirectly encompasses cannabis advertising as well. TikTok’s Branded Content Policy emphasizes that users are responsible for ensuring that any branded content they post comply with all applicable laws and regulations. Therefore, if you’re thinking about using TikTok for ads, be cautious when promoting cannabis-related products to avoid violating the platform’s guidelines.
Where does this leave you?
We are living in very interesting times. With cannabis, we are somewhere between glorifying the medicinal herb and struggling over its national legality. While most social media platforms are slowly, but surely adjusting to the sign of the times, others may not be on board to promote cannabis just yet. However, with continued exposure on the subject we are certainly moving in the right direction and will hopefully continue to see progression regarding the cannabis industry.
Comply and Succeed with Herban Creative
In the ever-evolving landscape of cannabis advertising on social media, Herban Creative is here to ensure that your brand stands out and thrives. With our expert knowledge of the latest rules and regulations, we can help you navigate the complexities of advertising cannabis on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. Our team understands the nuances of crafting compelling content that complies with guidelines while effectively reaching your target audience. From developing creative campaigns to optimizing ad placements, we provide a comprehensive range of services tailored specifically for the needs of cannabis brands.
With Herban Creative by your side, you can confidently showcase your products and educate consumers on the benefits of cannabis while staying compliant and maximizing your online presence. Let us help you amplify your brand’s voice in the digital world. Contact us today to get started!