Digital Marketing for the Cannabis Industry

Cannabis Industry Growth and Marketing

Cannabis is generating a lot of buzz in several sectors, including health, fashion, cosmetics, wellness, and politics. According to the research, the legal marijuana market will reach $73.6 billion by 2027. What’s more, the market is projected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.1%. We can attribute this expansion to the continued legalization of cannabis for medical and recreational purposes. Although the cannabis industry ranks among the USA’s hottest sectors, the industry’s rigid laws make marketing a quite overwhelming prospect. And while traditional marketing techniques have failed cannabis-related businesses, digital marketing techniques still reserve the power to open a new world of possibilities.

At GoMarketing, we combine cannabis industry expertise and top-level digital marketing strategies to elevate growth for your cannabis- or marijuana-related business. Among the businesses we serve include:

  • Marijuana organizations
  • Cannabis growing facilities
  • Dispensaries
  • Cannabidiol(CBD) products
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Marijuana Marketing Laws

New questions about marijuana legality in different states emerge daily. At the federal level, marijuana remains a schedule 1 substance. But 11 states, including Masachautes, Alaska, Colorado, and Nevada, have legalized the substance fully, while 22 others permit it for medical use.

Most states determine marijuana advertising laws based on existing regulations governing alcohol marketing.

Regardless of the types of cannabis advertising you engage in or the state you opt to advertise in, one regulation remains consistent- you cannot make misleading claims about your cannabis product’s effects and safety. Violating these guidelines is punishable with hefty fines.

Other cannabis marketing regulations based on safety include:

  • No claiming untested and unproven therapeutic effects of the substance
  • No encouraging overconsumption of cannabis/marijuana
  • Some states require advertisements to include possible side effects of marijuana.

Let us divert our attention to laws governing marijuana advertising in specific states.

Specific State Laws for Marijuana Marketing

Each state that has legalized cannabis has also put in place some cannabis advertising regulations. Here is a short guide to cannabis advertising restrictions in a few states, but you will want to recheck these rules regularly as they tend to evolve quickly.

Marijuana Advertising Restrictions in Colorado

Colorado was the firsts state to legalize marijuana, thus remaining a solid reference for the industry. For this reason, most cannabis-related occurrences in other states are usually an imitation of the happenings in Colorado. Here is a rundown of the state’s cannabis advertising restrictions:

  • No online advertising, television, print, mobile, and radio ads near an audience under 21.
  • No outdoor advertising, including portable signs, flyers, leaflets, handbills, and signs mounted on vehicles.
  • No targeting individuals outside of Colorado State.
  • No advertising focused on location-based devices, including but not limited to cellular phones.
  • No assertion that a product is safe because the State Licensing Authority regulates the business
  • No assertion that a product is safe because a Retail Marijuana Testing Facility has tested it

Marijuana Advertising Laws in California

Being the largest economy where marijuana has been legalized, California accounts for a large share of the cannabis advertising dollars. But it would help if you observed the state’s pot advertisement regulations to keep your cannabis-related business on the safe side of the law. These restrictions include:

  • No advertising in a false manner that creates a misleading impression of the product, including facts misinterpretation.
  • No misleading statements about the health effects of the cannabis consumption.
  • Online, print, radio, and television advertisements are permitted only where 71.6% of the audience 21 years of age and older.
  • Cannabis advertisements cannot feature visuals likely to appeal to minors, including cartoon and movie characters.
  • No contest or freebies tied to cannabis
  • No advertisement within 1000 feet of a youth center, playground, school, or daycare center.
  • No cannabis company can advertise its products or services while its license is suspended.

Laws Regulating Marijuana Advertising in Illinois

In January 2020, Illinois became the second-largest state to legalize the sale and use of recreational marijuana. Consumers over the age of 21 years can possess a maximum of 30 grams of recreational marijuana. Most pot advertisement regulations in Illinois are similar to those in other states and include:

  • No adverts that feature the image of cannabis bud or leaf
  • No cannabis ads near public libraries, public parks, daycare centers, recreational centers, playgrounds, or schools
  • No ads that feature images that appeal to minors, including animals, toys, cartoons, and celebrities.
  • No cannabis ads in or on public transit vehicles
  • Radio, TV, print, and digital ads for cannabis are permitted only if at least 71.6% of the target audience is above 21 years of age.
  • No adverts that promote overconsumption or depict consumption of marijuana

Lousiana’s Marijuana Laws

On June 11, 2020, Lousiana’s governor signed into a law a bill permitting the use of medical marijuana for any medical condition. The new legislation offers more freedom than the former law that allowed consumers to use medical marijuana to treat a few conditions. Still, licensed physicians are allowed to prescribe medical cannabis to patients clinically diagnosed with debilitating medical conditions.

However, the state has not loosened marijuana advertising restrictions. Dispensaries are not allowed to advertise their wares or offer public information about their pricing.

Marijuana Advertising Laws in Washington

Washington legalized the use of medical marijuana to treat debilitating conditions in 1998. In 2012, the state allowed consumers to buy at most 28 grams of recreational marijuana at a licensed cannabis store.

Talking of cannabis promotion, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board offers a comprehensive list of laws governing cannabis advertising in the state. These regulations include:

  • A business can promote its marijuana/marijuana products on a website but can only sell the products at a licensed marijuana premise.
  • Adverts must contain warnings of the marijuana’s side effects and age restrictions.
  • No adverts within a 1000 feet of facilities frequented by minors, including public parks, libraries, child care centers, recreational facilities, playgrounds, or schools.
  • No statements claiming cannabis consumption has therapeutic or curative effects.
  • No adverts promoting overconsumption of marijuana
  • No cannabis advertisement on or in public transit vehicle/shelter, or publicly owned or operated property

New York’s Marijuana Advertising Laws

New York legalized medical marijuana in 2014, allowing consumers to possess up to a month supply of non-smokable pot. In June 2019, New York lawmakers failed to pass a bill that would have fully legalized marijuana. However, the state continually updates its cannabis advertising regulations, which include;

  • All cannabis ads must represent accurate information about the product’s consequences, side effects, and effectiveness.
  • Cannabis advertisements should not encourage the recreational use of marijuana.
  • Ads should not portray minors or feature language or images likely to appeal to minors.
  • Cannabis businesses can only use black and white outdoor signs.

Cannabis Laws in Michigan

Michigan legalized medical marijuana in November 2008, allowing patients 21 years and over to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana for treating specified medical conditions. In November 2018, Michigan became the 10th state to legalize recreational marijuana. Residents can cultivate up to 12 cannabis plants at home.

In December 2019, Michigan’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency revealed that Weedmaps pledged to stop advertising illegal cannabis businesses, ending a long-standing row between the two parties.

Maine’s Marijuana Advertising Laws

Maine legalized medical marijuana in 1999 and recreational marijuana in 2014. Individuals 21 years of age or older can possess up to 70 grams of cannabis and cultivate up to 3 mature cannabis plants. But it is illegal to consume recreational cannabis in public. Among the laws governing cannabis advertising in Maine include:

  • Ads designed to appeal to targets younger than 21 years are prohibited
  • Cannabis advertising is prohibited in areas frequented by under-age individuals
  • Location-based ads targeting mobile devices and text marketing are prohibited. However, advertisers may leverage apps installed by mobile device owners who are at least 21 years old.
  • No unsolicited internet ads

Laws Governing CBD Advertising

Whereas only a few states have legalized recreational or medical cannabis, more states are warming up to cannabidiol(CBD), a cannabinoid extracted from resin, leaves, and flowers of marijuana and hemp plants.

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp-derived CBD with up to 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol(THC)- the substance responsible for the psychotropic effects of marijuana. However, marketers must understand that the federal legalization does mean that CBD distribution and advertising is legal in all states. They must, therefore, check individual state laws to avoid complications. But it is worth mentioning that CBD is illegal in Idaho under all circumstances. With that in mind, here are few things CBD advertisers should keep in mind:

  • The US FDA has warned several CBD manufacturers that claim unproven curative and therapeutic effects.
  • Ads showing consumption of CBD are prohibited.
  • Billboards advertising hemp-derived CBD are mostly legal, but you will want to check CBD advertising laws in your state to be on the safe side.
  • Some digital giants like Google, Amazon, Twitter, Pinterest, and Reddit, prohibit CBD ads.

Grow Your Cannabis-Related Business with Advanced Marketing Campaigns

At GoMarketing, we can help grow your business using highly effective cannabis online marketing campaigns compliant with your state laws. Contact us at 805-413-7893 or message us online to learn more about our digital marketing services for the cannabis industry or discuss your specific marketing needs.

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