When Elon Musk bought Twitter in 2022, speculation about looming company-wide changes made global headlines. Every controversial decision Musk has made, from “ending” political censorship to imposing check marks, has given journalists and the media impressive opportunities to weigh his options. Announcing from the social media platform that it would change its advertising policies on cannabis, the industry applauded the bold decision.
The new policy will lift the advertising ban on cannabis ads and related content, allowing for greater promotion of previously restricted ads. According to a policy update announced on February 15, Twitter will immediately allow advertising and promotional content related to legal cannabis products and services. The new rules will make concessions for content that promotes education and research about the plant and allow advertisers to promote brands, products and services.
Specifically, according to Cannabis advertising policy, CBD and similar cannabis products, THC and related products and cannabis-infused products and services — including delivery services, labs, developing technology, search engines and more — are now allowed to advertise on the platform. Additionally, to incentivize businesses to advertise, Twitter is offering to match every cannabis or CBD advertising dollar spent up to $250,000 through March 30, 2023.
Under the social media platform’s policy change, on February 15, multi-country giant operator Trulieve History presented As the first company to launch an advertising campaign on Twitter.
Gina Collins, Chief Marketing Officer Truelife, He said. “But there’s also a business reality that no one talks about—particularly in the macroeconomic conditions we all face—there’s advertising revenue to be made. It has mutual benefits for more than one major player or small industry. It looks so much bigger than that.”
Collins says she hopes Twitter’s groundbreaking update will encourage reform of cannabis advertising policy across other social media platforms, believing the news is a “catalyst”.
“If there is any courage on a platform like Twitter to come out and say this is an untapped industry and allow credible business to emerge, the rest will have to reconsider their policies as well,” says Collins. “Twitter has been advancing its policies and products since there was a change in leadership. Elon Musk is a huge advocate for the plant itself, and I suspect there have been very active conversations about the decision.”
Potential advertisers will have to navigate an arduous approval process to ensure they follow updated guidelines and are educated on the platform. Once cannabis executives pass this hurdle, they will have new tools with Twitter advertising products, such as in-stream videos, promoted tweets, and product opportunities, to name a few. While this is a win-win for cannabis marketers, the promotion of illegal drugs, drug paraphernalia, and content that promotes drug use remains prohibited.
Joe Hodas, Chief Marketing Officer for MSO Hemp Brands and mesays Twitter’s new policy will change the company’s financial commitment to the 2023 marketing plan.
“Strategically, you still need to get to the consumer and get them to a dispensary to buy the product,” Hodas says. “And this gave me another opportunity to do that. It potentially gives me another, more targeted way to reach the consumer that I can’t reach through programmatic ads.”
Will other advertising platforms follow suit?
Search engine giant Google has quietly announced that it is making some adjustments to its restrictions Advertising policies about CBD and hemp products starting in January 2023. However, it didn’t quite get as far as Twitter and by all accounts the updated policies are a very expensive and cumbersome process for paying a certification provider thousands of dollars in application, monitoring and site fees before paying for the advertising costs themselves.
While Google did not remove CBD From the list of unapproved pharmaceuticals and supplements, their policies are still very restrictive, allowing only topical CBD products derived from hemp that contain 0.3% or less of THC ad content.
Hodas agrees that education, as is often the case, is the key to progress and that we still struggle with a lack of understanding.
“The issue of hemp and CBD, it’s a problem for the cannabis industry in the sense that I think there’s a lack of education,” Hodas says. “In the early days, some platforms said CBD was allowed, but they didn’t allow THC. Well, now that’s all blurred too. I think that further reinforces that we need better education.”