Twitter allows cannabis ads to run on its platform in U.S. states where cannabis is legal and in Canada, according to the the company blog and Axios.
Twitter updated its advertising policy on Wednesday, making it the first social media app in the United States to allow cannabis advertising. Google last month updated its policies to allow advertisements for FDA-approved pharmaceutical products containing CBD and topical hemp-derived CBD products with a THC content of 0.3% or less in California, Colorado and Puerto Rico. Reddit authorizes advertisements for “topical, non-ingestible hemp-derived CBD products” in the United States, and Meta allows certain ads for hemp products.
“The cannabis space on Twitter is fun and engaging with users tweeting about their experiences using cannabis – whether for medical, wellness or recreational purposes – as well as recommending brands, products and points of sale,” read the Twitter blog post announcing the new guidelines. “The conversation also reflects the direction the cannabis industry is currently taking: legislative/policy reform, business development and community impact.”
Twitter says the relaxed politics will create more opportunities for “responsible cannabis marketing”.
In the United States and Canada, advertisers must be pre-approved by Twitter and authorized by the relevant authorities. They cannot target customers under the age of 21. Twitter says advertisers can only target jurisdictions in which they are authorized to promote these products or services online. Additionally, in the United States, advertisements cannot actually promote or offer the sale of cannabis or CBD, unless the advertisements are for topical, non-ingestible, hemp-derived CBD products containing less than 0.3 % THC, in accordance with government regulations.
There are a range of other restrictions included in the updated policy – ads cannot use any character, sportsperson, celebrity or image/icon that may appeal to minors; no pregnant or underage women may be used in advertising; there can be no health benefit claims, nor false or misleading claims; and certainly no depictions of someone lighting up a fattie.
It’s no surprise to see Twitter being the first social media platform to launch potty ads, considering who’s steering the ship. CEO Elon Musk has openly admitted to smoking weed and even did so during a podcast interview with Joe Rogan.
Musk also defended fewer content restrictions on Twitter. The company rolled back its COVID-19 misinformation policy shortly after Musk took office.
It’s a risky move for Twitter, as many brands won’t want to display their ads alongside ads for recreational drugs. Twitter may be trying to grab more ad revenue after advertisers leave the platform. According to a report by The Information, 500 of Twitter’s top advertisers have left since Musk took over the company, causing advertising revenue to plummet by 40%.
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