Meta Eases Cannabis Advertising Restrictions, Allowing Promotion of Non-Ingestible CBD Products

Cannabis Advertising Reform: Meta Updates Policy to Allow Promotion of Non-Ingestible CBD Products

In a significant move, Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram, and the social network Threads, has revised its cannabis advertising policy. The company now permits the promotion of non-ingestible CBD , while also loosening restrictions on hemp ads. The keyphrase “Cannabis Advertising Reform” highlights the transformative nature of this update.

According to a notice released by the conglomerate on Tuesday, CBD products containing up to 0.3 percent THC, which align with the federal definition of legal hemp, can now be advertised under certain conditions. To promote the sale of CBD, businesses must obtain written approval from Meta, ensure the products are certified with Legitscript (a payment company), and comply with local . It is also essential that these ads do not target individuals under the age of 18.

Furthermore, Meta’s updated policy now allows businesses to promote the sale of non-ingestible hemp products, such as hemp fiber or seeds, without the need for written approval in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. This change comes with the requirement that these items comply with all applicable local laws, required or established industry codes, and guidelines. Additionally, it is now permissible to run hemp-related ads that educate, advocate, or provide public service announcements related to CBD and related products, as long as they do not offer prohibited products for sale.

Meta stated, “We want people to continue to discover and learn about new products and services on our technologies.” However, it clarified that the prohibition on running ads promoting THC products or cannabis products containing psychoactive components remains in place. Moreover, ads for allowable CBD products must not make any claims that expressly state or imply the products can treat, cure, prevent, mitigate, or diagnose diseases or medical conditions in humans or animals.

LegitScript’s General Manager of Certification and Compliance Solutions, Michal Conley, emphasized the advantage of the company’s CBD certification program, which is also used by Google to determine which products can be advertised. Conley stated that this program provides the ability to reach millions of potential U.S. customers through select Meta Platforms, reinforcing the positive impact of the Cannabis Advertising Reform.

This policy update aligns Meta more closely with other social media companies that have reformed their cannabis rules following the of hemp and its derivatives, as well as the expansion of the marijuana legalization movement. However, Meta has faced criticism over a feature in its new text-based app, Threads, which prompts users with a “get help” message about federal substance misuse resources when searching for terms like “marijuana” and various psychedelics. Notably, alcohol- and tobacco-related searches are exempt from this prompt.

In a similar vein, Twitter cautioned users about “marijuana” searches in 2020 as part of a partnership with SAMHSA, but the practice was suspended after Elon Musk’s acquisition of the platform. Twitter has since updated its cannabis advertising policy, allowing certified advertisers in the cannabis industry to feature “packaged” cannabis products in their promoted ad creative.

Google also updated its policy in January, permitting companies to promote FDA-approved drugs containing CBD, as well as topical CBD products with no more than 0.3 percent THC. However, these ad opportunities are limited to California, , and Puerto Rico.

Twitch, the video game streaming company, recently updated its branding policy to prohibit promotions of marijuana businesses and products while explicitly allowing alcohol partnerships. Interestingly, Twitch exempted marijuana-related references from its list of banned usernames, similarly to alcohol and tobacco references.

Apple introduced an update to its iPhone software last year, allowing users to track medications and learn about possible drug interactions with other substances, including marijuana. Additionally, Apple ended its policy of restricting cannabis companies from conducting business on its App Store in 2021, enabling marijuana delivery services like Eaze to offer shopping and payment options on its iPhone app.

In 2021, New York marijuana called on TikTok to end its on cannabis-related advertising to facilitate public education on the state’s legalization efforts. On Facebook, owned by Meta, state-legal cannabis businesses, advocacy groups, and government entities have reported being “shadow banned,” where their profile pages do not appear in conventional searches. Instagram users have also experienced account deletions over marijuana-related , even if they were not advertising or promoting the use of cannabis.

In contrast to Apple, Google’s Android app hub updated its policy in 2019, explicitly prohibiting programs that connect users with cannabis, regardless of its legal status in the user’s jurisdiction. The various from different tech giants showcase the ongoing evolution and complexities surrounding cannabis advertising reform.

Malvin Felix
I'm Malvin, a cannabis news enthusiast who finds joy in staying updated about the latest industry trends. My passion led me to become a dedicated writer, entrepreneur, and investor in the cannabis space. Through my writing, I aim to educate and spark discussions, while my entrepreneurial ventures and strategic investments reflect my commitment to driving positive change in the industry.

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