Google to allow Ads for CBD and Hemp products

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Google To Allow Ads For CBD, Hemp Products

Google Ads will soon allow the promotion of products containing CBD with low THC levels in California, Colorado, and Puerto Rico.

In a blog post published on December 22, Google Ads announced that it would update its policies to relax the ban on CBD advertising only in California, Colorado and Puerto Rico starting from January 20, 2023.

"On January 20, 2023, the Dangerous Products and Services and Healthcare and Medicines Google Ads policies will be updated to allow for the promotion of FDA-approved pharmaceuticals containing cannabidiol (CBD) and topical, hemp-derived CBD products with a THC content of 0.3% or less in California, Colorado, and Puerto Rico," the Google blog-post reads.

However, Google Ads won't allow businesses to use certain formats, including YouTube Masthead, a digital billboard placed on YouTube's homepage for 24 hours.

Google will not display CBD products to users who are under the age of 18 and will not accept ads promoting other CBD-based products, including supplements, food additives, and inhalants.

According to a Google spokesperson interviewed by the Wall Street Journal, the pilot program "comes in response to the prevalence and widespread availability of CBD products."

Google will update its Dangerous Products and Services and Healthcare and Medicines Google Ads policies and will also remove CBD from the Unapproved Pharmaceuticals and Supplements list.

Furthermore, CBD-based topicals can be promoted only if LegitScript, a third-party certification expert in healthcare sectors, approves them.

In order to be certified for advertising, the products must undergo testing to ensure that they meet the legal THC limits and provide a third-party Certificate of Analysis from LegitScript. This will require submitting samples of the product for testing.

According to a press release, LegitScript is the only company authorized by Google to certify advertisers for eligible CBD products and websites.

Scott Roth, CEO of LegitScript, said in a press statement that it is critical to provide consumers with assurance that the CBD products they are purchasing have been thoroughly vetted in an industry that still has widespread issues with tainted, subpar, or illegal products.

Multiple studies have shown that many hemp-derived products and products containing CBD are often mislabeled and may contain harmful substances.

The CBD market is currently unregulated, which has led to the creation of a grey market for the sale of many hemp-derived products.

This means that businesses selling CBD products sold as dietary supplements will likely be unable to participate in the pilot program unless they can obtain approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). But the FDA has only approved one CBD product, EPIDIOLEX, and has not approved any other hemp-derived or CBD products, although FDA officials have recently announced that the agency will review regulations for CBD products in the upcoming months.

Google's move marks progress for the CBD industry, which is generally not allowed to advertise most hemp-derived products on social media or join advertising programs.

In contrast to the widespread advertising of alcohol on all platforms, cannabis businesses face challenges in branding and marketing themselves and getting noticed by their target audience.

Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram (owned by Meta), Twitter, and TikTok do not allow paid advertisements for cannabis-related products and services.

Furthermore, Google does not allow advertisements that promote the use, sale or provide information about cannabis.

Any mention of cannabis-related terms such as marijuana, weed, cannabis, rolling papers, or dispensaries will trigger Google's advertising policies.

Microsoft Advertising, which provides pay-per-click advertising on Bing, Yahoo!, and DuckDuckGo, prohibits advertising for cannabis and other healthcare products and supplements through its service.

Amazon, which recently supported a bill to legalize cannabis at the federal level, has strict policies on the sale of cannabis products on its platform.

Meanwhile, Twitter recently stopped providing a warning to its users who searched for certain drug-related terms, including "cannabis," suggesting that they consider seeking help for substance use, as reported by Marijuana Moments.

This feature was created in partnership with the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in 2020 and included a message directing users to SAMHSA's helpline and website, stating "help is available" and reminding users that they are not alone if they or someone they know is struggling with substance use.

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