cannabis ad policies for social media

Meta Refines CBD and Hemp Ad Policies, But Restrictions Persist

Jul 18, 2023


Menlo Park, CA--Meta Platforms, the parent company of social media powerhouses Facebook and Instagram, has revised its advertising policies regarding hemp and CBD products. Despite these modifications, advertisements for CBD products continue to be stringently regulated.

[Representative image via Bing]

Details of the New Policy

Under the latest policy, Meta said in a blog post that it permits “the promotion of legally permissible, non-ingestible CBD in the U.S., with some restrictions,” according to an announcement by the company on July 11. However, the firm continues to enforce an absolute ban on advertisements that “promote or offer the sale of THC products or cannabis products containing related psychoactive components.”

Meta advertisers can promote or offer hemp products in Canada, Mexico, and the United States if they do not contain CBD or >0.3% THC. This is contingent on these advertisers adhering to local laws, industry codes, guidelines, and licenses.

There is a caveat in Meta’s policy against ads promoting or selling CBD “or similar cannabinoid products,” but this exception is significant and limited. Specifically, U.S. advertisers can promote or offer “legally permissible CBD products” for sale, but only if they have been certified by LegitScript and have received written permission from Meta.

Advertisements related to “social issues, elections, or politics” necessitate a disclaimer. Furthermore, Meta stipulates that CBD or hemp product ads must not claim to diagnose, treat, prevent, or mitigate a disease or medical condition in humans or animals.

North American cannabis ads market

The cannabis industry in North America has been growing rapidly in recent years as more states and provinces legalize the recreational and medical use of the plant. This has also led to an increase in advertising spending by cannabis companies, which reached around 2 billion U.S. dollars in 2023. According to projections by Statista, cannabis ad spending in North America will continue to rise and reach 4.5 billion U.S. dollars by 2023. 

Twitter Loosens Cannabis Ad Policies

Contrasting with Meta’s policy, Twitter has made its cannabis industry advertising rules more flexible. Twitter will permit cannabis ads on its platform, according to a blog post made by the company. The new policy allows Twitter to host more cannabis ads than other platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.

Twitter’s revised policy permits advertisers to promote CBD, THC, and other cannabis-related products and services. However, these advertisers must adhere to specific guidelines. For example, they must obtain pre-approval from Twitter, target only users in locations where they are licensed to sell cannabis products and services and refrain from promoting the sale of cannabis, except for some topical CBD products. Advertisers cannot target users below the age of 21, make health claims, or depict cannabis use in their ads.

Google Relaxes CBD Advertising Rules

Like Twitter, Google has eased its hemp and CBD advertisement restrictions. As of January 20, 2023, Google Ads policies have been updated to permit the promotion of “FDA-approved pharmaceuticals containing cannabidiol (CBD) and topical, hemp-derived CBD products with THC content of 0.3% or less in California, Colorado, and Puerto Rico”.

The promotion of topical CBD products on Google is only permitted for products certified by LegitScript in the U.S. Despite Google’s revisions, open advertising of cannabis-related services still poses the risk of account shut down due to potential violations.

The Certification Process and Hurdles

LegitScript’s CBD certification standards are comprehensive, requiring advertisers to prove their product’s compliance with all legal and regulatory standards and to submit to criminal background checks, among other stipulations.

Therefore, although Google is somewhat liberalizing cannabis advertising for FDA-approved CBD and CBD topicals, getting past LegitScript’s vetting process can be challenging. Despite this, the move marks a step forward in the industry.

LegitScript CBD certification requirement

LegitScript CBD certification standards for cannabis advertising are multifaceted. The product must comply with all legal and regulatory standards, including necessary licensures or registrations, supply chain regulations, and good manufacturing practices. Products must be tested at LegitScript-approved facilities to verify they contain the advertised amount of hemp-derived compounds and meet cannabinoid substance and ingredient level requirements. The products should adhere to USDA and state hemp-cultivation requirements or prove exemption. Any past legal or disciplinary issues involving the applicant or product manufacturer could be disqualifying. The applicant must also adhere to Google’s advertising terms of service, with any breaches potentially leading to certification denial.

Check the entire certification standards on their official website.