How Twitter’s new Cannabis advertising policy is reshaping the industry’s future
One of the major challenges faced by the cannabis industry is limitations on its ability to advertise, due to a combination of state and federal regulations as well as platform-specific rules.
Key channels where cannabis brands have had to work around tight restrictions include social media, where the major players have specific rules about the kind of content that can be shared — and in most cases have banned paid content in this category altogether.
However, the first signs that this may be changing have appeared on Twitter, which has loosened its policy regarding cannabis to allow advertisements. The platform still has strict regulations in place — for instance, cannabis advertisers must be licensed by the appropriate authorities and pre-authorized by Twitter itself — but the move represents an important opportunity for players in the space to augment their existing outreach with paid efforts.
“Social in cannabis is pretty much organic, and even that organic presence is heavily augmented compared to how we would prefer to situate ourselves. [That’s] just by the nature of how Meta and Instagram have their rules about not showing the product and not saying particular words,” said Aaron Rivadeneyra, Director of Ecommerce at Kiva Confections in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “We’re not trying to make every post ‘buy this’ and ‘buy that,’ but it does make it difficult for us to tell a really authentic and holistic story right now on social media, so brands and retailers do their best. That’s why I’m excited about Twitter. It might not be the biggest organic social platform, but because it has the ability to layer on paid traffic and paid ads on top of it, it puts a little asterisk next to it as far as whether we should we give it more consideration.”
New Opportunities Assist Push for Mainstream Acceptance
Cannabis has been steadily gaining acceptance as a recreational and medicinal product over the past decade. The substance is legal for recreational use in 21 states and medical in 37 states, and the industry posted sales between $24.5 and $27 billion in 2021, according to data from Retail TouchPoints’ sister publication MJBiz. As more states open up for sales and channels open up for communication, cannabis becomes more accepted, which makes it easier for the industry to continue growing.