There are a variety of rules and regulations regarding cannabis marketing on the books on a state by state level with regards to what kind of advertising and marketing state legal cannabis companies are able to do.
In the 2017 election, another group of US states legalized marijuana at the voting booths, including recreational use in Massachusetts and California. The only initiative that failed by a measly 2% of the voting was Arizona.
Here is the latest in cannabis marketing by state:
Alaska – this one is a really simple one. It’s TBD. At the moment, nothing really to report in either direction, but we’ll update you when something does break.
Arizona – Similar to Alaska, no regulations or restrictions on advertising. It’s crazy, I was at the state fairgrounds for an event a couple of weeks ago and there’s a Weedmaps billboard on one corner and a WomensBibleStudy billboard on the opposite corner.
AZ is one of those crazy states where you just never know what’s going to happen. It’s fairly conservative as far as states go, but tend to be an independent state.
California – In the guise of medical, this is all going to change with the impending recreational use – requires a disclaimer on packaging (but there are SO many things in CA that require disclaimers on packaging or by signage in stores that it’s almost funny)
Typical California Label Used:
NOTICE TO CONSUMERS: The Compassionate Use Act of 1996 ensures that seriously ill Californians have the right to obtain and use cannabis for medical purposes where medical use is deemed appropriate and has been recommended by a physician who has determined that the person’s health would benefit from the use of medical cannabis. Recommendations must come from an attending physician as defined in Section 11362.7 of the Health and Safety Code. Cannabis is a Schedule I drug according to the federal Controlled Substances Act. Activity related to cannabis use is subject to federal prosecution, regardless of the protections provided by state law.
The California government loves to thumb its nose at the federal government, and we love that, really. If it weren’t for California and the original medical laws, we wouldn’t be where we are now. There’s also a provision against fraudulent or deceptive advertising in place, but that really should be a no brainer.
Colorado – as a recreational state, has a number of laws about advertising – most of them geared towards making sure that no more than 30% of the impacted individuals (people who see the ads) are under the legal age for purchasing. This one is great, and we like it. It’s really easy to add age verification pop ups to your web pages and disclaimer the heck out of them to make your position clear. It also means that billboards and flyers are out of the question.
They also don’t allow specific targeting for non Colorado residents either, which is a way to try to keep the neighboring states off their collective butts.
And they have a specific law that defines how customers interact with our platform – R 1113 – Advertising: Advertising via Marketing Directed Toward Location-Based Devices
A Retail Marijuana Establishment shall not engage in Advertising via marketing directed towards location-based devices, including but not limited to cellular phones, unless the marketing is a mobile device application installed on the device by the owner of the device who is 21 year of age or older and includes a permanent and easy opt-out feature.
Connecticut – laws in place to prohibit cross marketing by physicians and dispensaries or growers, for starters. And they prohibit a number of things in very ambiguous ways, so we don’t service Connecticut providers at the moment, it’s just too much work to police for a very small payback, in all honesty.
(b) An advertisement for marijuana or any marijuana product shall not contain:
(1) Any statement that is false or misleading in any material particular or is otherwise in violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, section 42-110b et seq., of the Connecticut General Statutes;
(2) any statement that falsely disparages a competitor’s products;
(3) any statement, design, or representation, picture or illustration that is obscene or indecent;
(4) any statement, design, representation, picture or illustration that encourages or represents the use of marijuana for a condition other than a debilitating medical condition;
(5) any statement, design, representation, picture or illustration that encourages or represents the recreational use of marijuana;
(6) any statement, design, representation, picture or illustration related to the safety or efficacy of marijuana unless supported by substantial evidence or substantial clinical data;
Delaware– our take on it is to limit the options on our platform for folks from Delaware. This is the main point:
No person may advertise medical marijuana sales in print, broadcast, or by paid in-person solicitation of customers. This shall not prevent appropriate signs on the property of the registered compassion center, listings in business directories including phone books, listings in trade or medical publications, or the sponsorship of health or not-for-profit charity or advocacy events.
Which means that we’re basically doing membership card type products or event tickets, and these have convertible options to educational cards in the mobile phones.
Washington, DC – laws really only apply to window signage and light up signage. So nothing to report there other than a requirement to submit materials for approval and having an educational slant.
Florida – that’s another TBD, and not just for advertising. They pushed through a 5 page initiative that didn’t deal with much, in order to get the votes and pass.
Georgia – is another TBD. Nothing to report here.
Hawaii – only restricts physical signage at the moment.
Illinois – a tiny little set of laws, you can’t advertise at bus stops, near schools or on public property.
Maine – No restrictions at all right now.
Massachusetts – in the transition to recreational from medical, meaning new laws to come but at the time being, no marijuana symbols in your logo. You cannot create logo items like t-shirts or coffee mugs to sell or give away and you cannot suggest recreational use in the medical dispensaries.
Michigan – has no restrictions on advertising at the moment.
Minnesota – also has no restrictions on advertising right now.
Montana – has a no advertising policy. So you know what that means, no business with Montana customers for us. Sorry guys.
Nevada – is also going to recreational use, but at the moment, all medical ads, including logos, have to be approved. Once you have an approved logo, we can work with membership cards and event tickets on mobile, not really an issue but that’s all likely to change with the switch.
New Hampshire – prohibits misrepresentation and unfair practices in any advertising, and that’s about it.
New Jersey – limits signage on buildings, prohibits sale or give aways of logo merchandise like t-shirts, but exempts patients and caregivers who are buying paraphernalia.
New Mexico – no restrictions on advertising at the moment.
New York – mostly regulates in regard to fair and truthful advertising, and they want to approve ads 30 days prior to usage. In this case, we adapt approved advertising to mobile format.
Oregon – has a few regulations about signage on the property but nothing major other than requiring sales to be accompanied by a Marijuana Information Card in a specific size.
Rhode Island – no restrictions currently.
Texas – regulations for compassionate use CBD are still to be determined.
Vermont – doesn’t have any restrictions on advertising right now.
Washington – state has two interesting parts to their restrictions –
(4) Giveaways, coupons, and distribution of branded merchandise are banned.
(3) No licensed marijuana producer, processor, or retailer shall place or maintain, or cause to be placed or maintained, an advertisement of marijuana, usable marijuana, or a marijuana-infused product in any form or through any medium whatsoever:
(a) Within one thousand feet of the perimeter of a school grounds, playground, recreation center or facility, child care center, public park, library, or a game arcade admission to which it is not restricted to persons aged twenty-one years or older;
(b) On or in a public transit vehicle or public transit shelter; or
(c) On or in a publicly owned or operated property.
This could get a bit crazy in practice, since a person carrying a copy of MG magazine on the bus would be putting the advertisers in a precarious position if there were strict interpretation of the law as written.
We handle this by only using iBeacon notifications for campaigns, no geofencing at all. This means that the notifications only pop inside the dispensary or other authorized location since we don’t have the ability to black out areas that shouldn’t get display ads.
The state by state list of what’s currently allowed, prohibited, and all that good stuff. If you’ve got questions regarding mobile advertising in a particular state, hop over to CannabisWallet use the contact form you’ll a quick answer.