The cannabis industry is booming, but you wouldn’t necessarily know it. Why? Brands like yours — legitimate, ethical, and beneficial though they may be — fight a constant uphill battle to properly market and advertise their products. You’d think in a world where cannabis sales are projected to hit $57 billion within the next 10 years that branding efforts wouldn’t be a problem.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case.
Still, with so much potential growth, investments are admittedly pouring into the industry. And with those investments comes the expectation of advertising. There’s just one problem: It’s likely that your cannabis company (and others in the same boat) don’t yet know the best ways to advertise online.
And while it’s evident that online publishers are ready and even eager to run cannabis-related ads, there’s trepidation around the vast amount of cannabis companies operating without state law compliance. While they don’t want to miss out on opportunities in this new industry, they’re also rightfully wary of the gray area that surrounds advertising cannabis ethics in the States.
Hazy: The Legal Standing of Cannabis in the U.S.
As we know by now, cannabis is still classified as a Schedule I Drug under the Controlled Substances Act, which means the federal government views it as addictive and harmful.
But being immersed and knowledgeable in the industry, you understand (and appreciate) that the government stays out of state regulations. Because of this, 33 states have legalized medical cannabis and 11 states have legalized it recreationally. Although the CSA technically still bans cannabis advertising on the internet, the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment prohibits the use of federal funds to interfere with cannabis programs that are legal in individual states. Still, with so much murkiness, it’s easy to see why publications aren’t totally comfortable working with cannabis brands.
They say the only way out is through, but what if there was simply a way around it? That’s where Vana comes in.
Achieve 100% Cannabis Marketing Compliance
Online media publishers are learning about the booming cannabis industry through myriad news sources, current affairs, and general buzz. As regulations continue to loosen, they’re hungry to capitalize on so much potential revenue. But publishers recognize that, along with legal uncertainty, potential fraud is always a possibility when partnering with new brands.
So when publishers work with Vana, they know they’re working with compliant, ethical cannabis brands like you.
No online media publication wants to deal with the technicalities that go into working with highly regulated industries. For that reason, cannabis brands are on the back burner because of the detailed vetting process (and potential fines) that come with lack of compliance.
To correct this, Vana verifies every brand’s state ID and license before it’s allowed on our platform. This makes it easy for publishers to ensure the companies they’re working with are ethical and compliant. For us, full compliance is a key part of ethical marketing; it’s what we pride ourselves on and what our partners can count on us for.
The Right Ads for the Right People
Legal cannabis advertising in the U.S. involves not only who creates the ads, but also who they target. Along with vetting the brands we work with, Vana also ensures only the right consumers see our ads. Our compliance-based cannabis marketing is based on geofencing and age-gating capabilities. Vana ads will only go to consumers who are of age and who live in states where the products advertised are legal.
Vana aids in the process of building your cannabis brand — one that involves multi-state operators, single-state operators, and single-state operators that plan to become multi-state in the future. Our key is dynamic compliance: Our system is designed to automatically publish the appropriate state compliance regulations on banner ads and micro-sites.
For the multi-state brands, our suite of ads in each state looks similar. But under the hood, the system works to ensure ads are compliant with the given location’s regulations. At Vana, we believe we have an ethical responsibility to obey government regulations and ensure the brands we work with do the same.
Educating Publishers and Elevating Cannabis Brands
Along with our responsibilities concerning regulations and customers, we are also responsible for helping brands and publishers as they navigate legal cannabis advertising in general.
In 2019, we started the Vana Reach advertising platform, which now touches more than 200 million consumers per month. We’re only able to connect to that massive market because publishers and brands like you trust us to fulfill our responsibilities.
Vana’s ads run on BuzzFeed and in Hearst and Gannett publications, media sources with millions of mainstream consumer readers. For cannabis brands like yours, this is exactly the kind of exposure you need and want. Still, you may not always know how to market to this type of audience. We’re experts in cannabis and the media landscape, and we work with brands like you to help bridge that gap.
With publishers, we’re working together to establish the rules of the new cannabis media landscape. Vana works closely with the Interactive Advertising Bureau and the Mobile Marketing Association to help define compliant cannabis advertising and determine how it should be treated, reviewed, and accepted.
We will be working closely with the IAB specifically in coming months to meet with chief revenue officers of all major publishers about the future of cannabis marketing. We’ll demonstrate to these publishers why they should embrace the cannabis market and how to approach it.
Leveraging these connections with major media companies and organizations, Vana aims to continue our growth as the leading thought leader in cannabis marketing. More importantly, through education, awareness, and continual vetting on our end, we’ll achieve your brand goals in the most ethical, responsible way.