One cannot enter this space without being bombarded with information about laws, policies and cannabis advertising regulations. It’s undoubtedly the world’s most strictly regulated industry as it emerges from nearly a century of social and political banishment.
That being said, advertising and marketing cannabis stores and products is still an issue. Sometimes because advertising outlets still take a stigmatizing approach to working with cannabis businesses. Take Facebook, for example, which considers cannabis ads as promoting drug use and blocks paid campaigns on the platform. Other times, it’s due to local laws and limitations. Fortunately, it’s easy to adapt to new regulations as they’re released by state and municipality.
Advertising and marketing regulations will vary in each market. But, you can expect some variations of the following basic types of policies to apply in every legal state:
Most states or cities that allow medical or adult use cannabis dispensaries will set rules on how the outside of the shop can look. Regulations will dictate the zone of town your store can be in, and the signage on the outside. Dispensaries are also limited in where they can advertise their services – making it easy for the big dispensary listing websites to charge a pretty penny.
As the industry becomes more mainstream, it’s commonplace for regulators to control the inner and outer appearance of the cannabis infused products on your dispensary’s shelves. Legal cannabis markets do not allow edibles that look like any commercially marketed candy or food, to avoid confusion and copyright infringement that seems to run rampant in the space. There are other labeling requirements in place, and the dosage of edibles is almost always controlled. Companies will adapt to rules like these, or fade into irrelevancy.
For now, cannabis advertising regulations affect the radio and TV due to federal regulations, though local networks have been known to run tasteful ads in several legal states. If you want to get your spot on the air, you have to do it with subtlety and professionalism. Don’t use degrading or stereotypical, cliche’d language in your ad – you’ll only ruin it for the rest of us who want to be taken seriously.
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