Elon Musk’s Twitter Opens the Door to Marijuana Ads
Elon Musk has long been considered cannabis-friendly because many jokes 420 (number is slang for marijuana) and famously videotaped in a podcast while smoking a mixture of marijuana and tobacco, known as a cigarette.
Now, just a few months after purchase Twitter for $44 billion, he’s taken his biggest step yet in supporting the cannabis industry by opening up his social media service more broadly to cannabis ads—far beyond any rival platform. On Wednesday, Twitter updated advertising policy that allows cannabis-related companies to be licensed to run ads—with many restrictions—in states where advertising is legal.
“As of today, in some US states, we have taken easing measures Cannabis Advertising Policy to create more opportunities for responsible marketing of cannabis – the biggest step forward of any social media platform,” said Alexa Alianiello, who handles U.S. partnerships and ad sales. United for Twitter, said in a blog post.
Twitter’s greater acceptance of cannabis advertising is a big departure from other major social media companies like Meta, the parent company of Facebook, such ads have long since been banned. The closest meta to come is allowing marijuana ads for political campaigns and elections, and they must come with a disclaimer, including who paid for the marketing messages. .
Twitter’s looser rules come as more states legalize the sale of marijuana. Recreational use of marijuana is currently legal in 21 states; it is still illegal at the federal level. Twitter’s decision also comes as the cannabis industry faces severe economic uncertainty that is driving down the stock prices of many publicly traded businesses and driving others into bankruptcy. Many cannabis companies, including retail and wholesale storesis struggling due to competition from illegal sellers and high cost of doing business.
However, the impact of Twitter’s policy change remains unclear. The new rules come with restrictions that greatly restrict the types of advertising allowed to the point where most ads for most cannabis products are still banned on the service.
For example, advertisers cannot “promote or offer for sale Cannabis (including CBD–cannabinoids).” One exception is for hemp- or non-edible, hemp-derived CBD topical products that “contain at or below the 0.3% THC threshold set by the government.”
Alianiello hinted at just as much in his blog post by citing examples of more generic cannabis advertising. “In the future, Twitter will allow advertisers to promote brand interests and cannabis-related informational content for CBD, THC, and cannabis-related products and services,” she wrote. .
Ads for marijuana delivery services and accessories like vaping pens appear to be allowed under the new rules.
Additionally, under Twitter’s new rules, marijuana ads cannot target anyone under the age of 21, show people using cannabis products, or recommend people who are intoxicated. Marketers are also prohibited from claiming any health benefits or including celebrities or sports figures in their messages.
Finally, in order to advertise, companies must go through a Twitter verification process and get approved. It’s not clear how long that process will take.
However, Alianiello introduced Twitter as a safe space for users to regularly tweet about marijuana and discuss the topic with others. She also revealed how Twitter users tweet more about marijuana, as one topic, than some others, which should be familiar to anyone with a Twitter account.
“As the cannabis industry has expanded, so has the conversation on Twitter. In the US – one of the most influential cannabis markets – it’s bigger than the conversation around topics like pets, cooking and golffirstas well as foods and beverages including fast food, coffee and alcohol,” Alianiello said.
She continued: “The cannabis space on Twitter is interesting and engaging with users Tweeting about their experiences using cannabis – whether medicinally, healthly or recreationally – as well as recommend brands, products and retail locations. The conversation also reflected the direction of the cannabis industry: legal/policy reform, business development, and community impact.”
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