At Vana, we pride ourselves on compliant and ethical advertising. Our job is to help cannabis brands grow their customer base by placing their ads on mainstream media publishers such as Buzzfeed, Hearst, and Gannett. The key to our strong relationship with these publishers is our promise to only work with brands that are 100% legal and compliant, as well as our strict adherence to the laws regulating cannabis advertising.
Currently, there aren’t many resources available to help cannabis brands navigate the digital ad space. That's why we’ve created this guide to the most important rules to follow when advertising your cannabis brand online.
1) Incorporate Health Warnings into All Micro-sites and Landing Pages
Alaska, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Michigan require certain warning statements to be included on all forms of cannabis advertising. However, these states each require different combinations of the same general warning statements. All of them require a statement clarifying that cannabis is for adult use only, but some require the addition of more specific health warnings. In effort to abide by all state laws, we include all the various required warning statements on the bottom right corner of our landing pages.
Our statement reads:
Government warning: this product contains cannabis, a schedule I controlled substance. Keep out of reach of children and animals. Cannabis products may only be possessed or consumed by persons 21 years of age or older unless the person is a qualified patient. The intoxicating effects of cannabis products may be delayed up to two hours. Cannabis use while pregnant or breastfeeding may be harmful. Consumption of cannabis products impairs your ability to drive and operate machinery. Please use extreme caution.
2) Include Your Business License Number on Advertisements and Landing Pages
Right now, only two states - California and Alaska - require cannabis brands to publish their business license number on all websites and advertisements. This is an important requirement to protect customers from unlicensed, unregulated cannabis products, so we always include our brands’ license numbers on banner ads and landing pages regardless of the state they operate in.
In light of growing health concerns due to illicit cannabis products, particularly surrounding vape concentrates, more states are likely to include a license requirement on advertisements in the near future.
For more information on the licensing requirement, check out our blog: The Cannabis License Requirement for Digital Advertising.
3) Utilize Geographic / Demographic Targeting and Age-Gating For Your Advertisements and Landing Pages
Obviously, cannabis brands cannot advertise in states where cannabis is still illegal or in states where cannabis advertising is highly restrictive. This poses a challenge for cannabis brands when advertising online since internet content is accessible from all over the country.
Additionally, it is critical for cannabis brands to ensure that they do not target advertising toward individuals under the age of 21. With digital advertising, this is especially important because anyone, regardless of their age, can access the internet.
The ability to target ads by geography and age is the key to opening up digital advertising for cannabis brands. And luckily, we have developed highly sophisticated adtech software that does just that. That means our ads will only be seen by consumers who are of age and in states where cannabis advertising is allowed.
4) Obtain Prior Approval From Medical States' Regulatory Departments
In some medically-legal states, all cannabis advertisements must be approved by the state’s designated regulatory body for cannabis-related issues. Connecticut, Florida, Minnesota, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia all share this requirement.
While each state has its own specific process for approving ads, in general, gaining approval requires cannabis companies to submit a cover letter with a brief description of the ad and where it will be distributed, evidence to verify all claims made in the ad are true, as well as a copy of the advertisement itself.
Wherever You Are, Vana Can Help
No matter what state your cannabis brand is based in, Vana can help you launch compliant and effective digital advertising campaigns. To learn more about the ways Vana can elevate your brand’s digital advertising, contact us via the link below.