Twitter updated its advertising policy on Wednesday, making it the first social media app in the US to allow cannabis advertising. google last month its policy updated to allow advertising for FDA-approved drugs containing CBD and topical hemp-derived CBD products with THC levels of 0.3% or less in California, Colorado, and Puerto Rico. Reddit allows ads for “topical and non-digestible hemp-derived CBD products” in the US, and meta allows some ads for hemp products.
“The cannabis space on Twitter is fun and engaging for users who tweet about their experiences using cannabis – whether medicinally, for wellness or recreationally – and recommend brands, products and retail locations,” reads the Twitter blog post detailing the new guidelines are announced. “The conversation also reflects where the cannabis industry is currently headed: law/policy reform, business development, and community impact.”
Twitter says the relaxed policy will create more opportunities for “responsible cannabis marketing”.
In both the US and Canada, advertisers must be pre-authorized by Twitter and licensed by the appropriate authorities. They must not target customers under the age of 21. Twitter says advertisers should only target jurisdictions in which they are licensed to promote these products or services online. In addition, ads in the US may not actually promote or offer the sale of cannabis or CBD unless the ads relate to topical, non-digestible, hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3% THC, per government regulations.
A range of other restrictions are included in the updated policy: Ads cannot use a character, athlete, celebrity, or image/icon that might appeal to minors; no pregnant women or minors may be used in advertisements; there must be no claims of health benefits, nor false or misleading claims; and certainly no images of someone lighting a fat man.
It’s not surprising to see Twitter as the first social media platform to pioneer weed advertising, considering who’s running the ship. CEO Elon Musk has openly admitted to smoking weed and has actually done so during a Joe Rogan podcast interview.
Musk has also advocated for fewer content restrictions on Twitter. Shortly after Musk took over, the company reversed its policy on COVID-19 misinformation.
It’s a risky move on Twitter’s part, as many brands don’t want to show their ads next to recreational drug ads. Twitter may be trying to bring in more ad revenue after reports of advertisers leaving the platform. According to a report by The information500 of Twitter’s top advertisers have left since Musk took over the company, causing ad revenue to drop 40%.