But regulations around promoting cannabis products are stringent, ever-changing and vary drastically depending on location. As creatives, we have an opportunity to craft messages that both reach and resonate with audiences. My company specializes in experiential marketing, and I believe developing an experiential marketing strategy is key in creating those connections.
I’ll show you why, but first, here’s a little context:
The U.S. and Cannabis: A Complicated History
When you consider alcohol prohibition, the scheduling of drugs under the 1971 Controlled Substances Act and the fluctuating decriminalization of cannabis, you’ll see that the U.S. has been no stranger to changes in substance legality.
Although it was illegal in several states by the 1930s, 1937 marked the passage of the Marihuana Tax Act, which regulated the “importation, cultivation, possession and/or distribution of marijuana,” according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
The continuing federal ban precludes a national marketing strategy, so state rules run the gambit. For example, Colorado has strict sign regulations on when and where ads can be placed, whereas New York allows a single black-and-white sign outside of a cannabis business. Online, social media regulations can be just as tricky. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, for example, all ban the promotion of cannabis. Cannabis brands have worked around these rules with influencer marketing, but influencers can be wary lest their accounts get suspended or deleted.
Published: April 23, 2020
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News