Medical marijuana usage in California has been legal since 1996, but cannabis distributors are still encountering difficulties in marketing their products on social media due to its federal illegality. Many social media platforms, Instagram and Facebook especially, are shutting down cannabis-related content and deactivating accounts that promote any form of THC product. However, we have been able to identify several guidelines that could save your account from being shut down.
Firstly, there are certain words that, when incorporated in a promotional social media post, automatically call for deactivation of one’s account. These include but are not limited to: “cannabis,” “marijuana,” “THC,” and any outright advertisement or sale of cannabis. Instagram allows for marijuana advocacy and educational pages as long as they are not directly promoting the sale of cannabis products. It is also vital to post disclaimers on all photos that mention marijuana that clarifies the 21+ consumption age limit, as well as possible side effects of the drug. This eliminates any illegality in selling to minors and reinforces the educational priority of your social media page instead of your brand’s promotional intentions.
An additional regulation to follow when posting on social media is to avoid showcasing the explicit consumption of cannabis or CBD. This can be expanded to include pictures of cannabis plants, flowers, and products, even if they are not being openly consumed on the post. This is meant to protect your brand from exposure to younger audiences that might be much more susceptible to social media promotions than adults. Even if you are promoting marijuana usage for medicinal and holistic purposes, it is best to avoid posting candid content of it being consumed.
Since the above guidelines restrict the variety of social media content that marijuana distributors can post, adding hashtags at the end of each caption helps in boosting brand exposure with less risk of your account being deactivated. “Safer” hashtags to begin incorporating in your promotions include: #shoplocal, #organic, #holistic, #medicalmarijuana, #420community, #indica, #sativa, and #cbdoil. These all hint at cannabis consumption without directly mentioning any words that would automatically shut down your brand’s digital platform.
While online marketing shows increasing restrictions in terms of advertising marijuana products, there are simple ways to reduce the chances of account deactivation. These do not guarantee your account’s immunity from being shut down, but rather serve as a set of guidelines that aid your brand in maintaining its exposure with far less risk. Schedule a free consultation with us today if you have additional questions or require any clarification!