Did you hear a collective cheer go up just before Valentine’s Day? That may have been cannabis entrepreneurs rejoicing at the news of a major policy change at Twitter which will now allow cannabis ads on its platform. Cannabis advertising is tightly regulated, and very limited, and other big internet platforms Facebook and Google do not allow marijuana marketing of any kind. Advertisers on Twitter will still have to follow state and local regulations, but the move is a big one for the nascent industry, especially if other internet giants follow suit.
Some entrepreneurs are already thinking about how they’ll use the platform. Aaron Rivadeneyra, director of e-commerce at KIVA, a California-based company that offers THC, CBD, and CBN-infused gummies, chocolates, mints, and chews, says the company is interesting in exploring Twitter paid ads to spread awareness of existing products and “build hype for launches” of new products. “Twitter will allow Kiva and cannabis to engage in the digital social conversation like never before,” he said.
Ashley Fields, senior vice president of marketing and communications at the cannabis drink maker Cann, welcomed the new rules as a step to alleviate the disparity between the ways alcohol and cannabis-infused drinks can be advertised. Increasing opportunities for drinks like Cann to be marketed shows the conversation is trending towards normalization, legalization and “substance quality,” she said.
5W, a public relations agency that launched a CBD and cannabis division in 2018, sees lots of possibilities. Executive vice president Paul Miser, says the new rules could affect clients across cannabis-related categories like women’s and men’s skincare, pet products, edibles, wellness, pain relief, sleep aids, food, beverage, cannabis delivery services, and consultancy services.
Advertisers, once they are approved, will be able to use all of Twitter’s advertising venues like promoted tweets and in-stream video sponsorships.
There are of course restrictions. Among them: Advertisers can only target jurisdictions where the substance is legal. Ads can not feature a person, character or animal, and cannot appeal to those under 18. The ads can not associate marijuana with glamour, recreation, excitement, vitality, risk or daring. In fact, the guidelines state that advertisers may not promote or offer the sale of Cannabis (including CBD, a non-psychoactive component.)
Even with strict guidelines, “this move by Twitter is such a big win for the cannabis industry,” said 5W’s Miser, Now, he said, “we’re keeping our eyes out for other social platforms” who may begin to lift their own restrictions.
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