In a groundbreaking move, Twitter on Wednesday announced it will be the first big social media platform to allow cannabis brands to market their products in the U.S.
Twitter had previously allowed ads for CBD topical products derived from Hemp, contrary to Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, which all have a total ban on cannabis advertising.
While federal law still bans the sale and distribution of marijuana, the District of Columbia and 21 states have legalized its recreational use, and most other states allow for expansive medical uses.
Twitter said it will approve cannabis advertisements from companies that only target jurisdictions where they are licensed to operate, with a strict ban on ads targeted to users under 21 years old.
Elon Musk, who completed his acquisition of Twitter last October, bid $54.20 per share for the company, in an apparent pot reference. He also famously toked a fatty on Joe Rogan’s podcast, drawing howls of protest in some quarters of the media. The show was broadcast from California where marijuana use is legal.
A Pew Research study showed that 23% of U.S. adults are active Twitter users, with the demographic skewed heavily toward younger adults (42%), making it an attractive platform to target for cannabis advertisers.
Industry players welcomed the move by Twitter: “Kudos to @twitter for being the first major social network to welcome Cannabis advertisements”, tweeted Rosie Mattio, CEO of Mattio Communications, a New York-based marketing and communications firm focusing on cannabis.
In another Twitter post, cannabis marketing agency AdCann, who was first to report the development, greeted the news enthusiastically:
BREAKING NEWS 📢@Twitter has announced major policy changes effective immediately:— ADCANN (@adcannca) February 15, 2023
Now allowing #cannabis advertisers to promote content for CBD, THC and cannabis services across the USA, officially becoming the largest 420-friendly social network. https://t.co/vXhv3vUMjD
AdCann reported that “there were over 20 million tweets about cannabis topics” last year, citing Twitter sources. That’s more tweets than coffee, the NHL, golf, and many other mainstream sectors.
Twitter’s new policy offers cannabis companies and their advocates an opportunity to tout its growing acceptance for recreational use, as well as its many medical and therapeutic benefits.
According to Twitter, the new rule will will allow advertising and brand promotion for the following products and services:
- CBD (Cannabidiol) and similar cannabinoid products
- THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and similar products
- Cannabis-related products and services. Examples include, but are not limited to: delivery services, labs, growing technology, search engines, events, etc.
Cannabis marketers will be required to get advertising preapproved by Twitter to ensure compliance with all conditions of the new policy.
Under Musk’s ownership, Twitter has often updated, changed or retracted its rules and practices and it’s yet to be seen whether this new policy will withstand any possible pushback by federal and state government and law enforcement agencies.
Congress is currently considering federal legislation, titled the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, that could relax laws for financial services to marijuana companies.
Twitter will continue its prohibition of advertising for illegal drugs or paraphernalia, as well as content that glorifies or promotes illegal drug use.