The global cannabis market is experiencing substantial growth in the coming years, increasing from $28.266 billion in 2021 to $197.74 billion in 2028. That's a CAGR of over 32% in only seven years! In a market with this growth projection, advertising has never been more critical — but limitations are in place on most popular channels, particularly social media.
So, is Facebook marketing for cannabis brands allowed? Yes, but there are strict rules on how to do it. Cannabis marketing is challenging because of its mixed-legality status, and Facebook's regulations make it challenging. Companies can adapt their messaging and platform accordingly. However, it is imperative to use caution when you develop your ads, as Facebook can remove them and block accounts at its discretion with no option to appeal for reinstatement.
This article will go over what you need to know if you’re planning to launch a cannabis marketing on Facebook yourself, as well as ways to reach a sought-after audience by leveraging direct-sold owned and operated digital media
Is Facebook Marketing Allowed for Cannabis?
Yes, Facebook marketing is allowed for cannabis brands, but in many cases getting your ads accepted can be a time-consuming process and, ultimately, a losing battle due to significant restrictions around advertising cannabis. In addition, these restrictions are not exclusive to Facebook. Other social media channels that have strict rules on this industry include:
- Twitter for Business strictly says it "prohibits the promotion of drugs and drug paraphernalia" and includes cannabis in that category.
- Instagram also prohibits the promotion or sale of cannabis products, no matter your state or country.
- Pinterest prohibits the sale of cannabis on its platform, as well as informational material regarding recreational drugs, related imagery, and the sale and use of related paraphernalia. They make an exception for topical hemp seed oil products if they make no therapeutic or medicinal claims.
- Under the category of 'dangerous products and services,' the promotion of recreational drugs or facilitation of recreational drug use is prohibited on YouTube. Cannabis is a named substance, among others.
Cannabis Marketing 101
If you choose to run your own Facebook campaign as a cannabis brand, let's cover some basics you’ll want to take into consideration. Due to strict regulations, always refrain from doing the following:
- Don't push sales or note something is for sale, avoiding prices or inquiries. Facebook explicitly says that you cannot "promote the sale or use of illicit or recreational drugs" with marijuana and cannabis among those substances named. For this reason, you cannot be like other brands and treat Facebook as a direct line to the sales of your products.
- Don't instruct people on how to grow or sell cannabis. Under Facebook's rule that you cannot "encourage the consumption" of products like cannabis, you also cannot share content that helps your followers do it themselves.
- Don't push contact information to help people buy cannabis products. Promoting contact information for your business and products is considered a part of promoting "the sale or use" of the 'recreational drug.'
- Avoid making any medical claims. To help reduce the influence of dangerous brands spreading misinformation with health-related claims, Facebook also prohibits posting medical claims that ”exaggerate or mislead” users or attempts to sell products with claims that they will boost the user's health in some way.
An Alternate Solution: Navigate Restrictions through Owned-and-Operated Platforms
Cannabis marketing on social media can be tricky with all the holes and loops you must jump through to develop a social presence without being flagged by the platform. But with the right partner, there are alternatives to social media to help you reach your desired audiences. Owned-and-operated platforms still have restrictions on how to advertise – like specifying age limits and not giving coupons – but they are not at the whim of tech leaders.
Cannabis ads are subject to regulations on a state-by-state basis because they are an intoxicating substance (similar to the rules alcohol and tobacco must abide by). However, working with a singular platform for your ads gives you an ally whose expertise can help you develop and navigate ads adhering to these individual requirements. They can help you create enticing ads that convey your message while avoiding using images of the cannabis leaf or making misleading statements.
Grow Your Cannabis Business with McClatchy
In key markets across the country, McClatchy’s network of media sites offers direct access to digital inventory allowing you access to multiple channels they control where you can build and promote your brand to essential customers. Looking for more? Ask how we may be able to use 3rd party email and other programmatic tactics to help you achieve your marketing goals.
Contact us today so we can review these alternatives and help you put together a comprehensive campaign that can help take your cannabis brand to the next level.