Cannabis Advertising Rules

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Cannabis Advertising Rules

Key Takeaways

  • The only sign-based marijuana advertising allowed on buildings in New York must be in black and white.
  • In New Jersey, TV and radio marijuana ads are allowed, but must be aired between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m..
  • Digital media advertisements are allowed in Massachusetts, however unsolicited pop-up advertisements are not allowed, and for mobile applications, social media, and websites, it must be ensured that the target audience is at least 85% over 21.

Introduction

An overview of cannabis advertising rules in regulations in each of the required states and provinces (Washington, New Jersey, New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, Oregon, Ontario, and Alberta) has been provided below. For each, we've focused on which advertising mediums can be used legally, as well as providing details on any related advertising restrictions or legislations.

Washington

Allowed

  • Digital marketing, both independently and through a paid advertising agency are allowed, including Google ads and other paid search options.
  • Direct mail and print advertising is allowed, but cannot contain coupons.
  • Billboards and visual signage are allowed, but there are limitations on imagery allowed, as well as certain words.

Restricted

New Jersey

Allowed

  • Billboards are allowed but cannot be within 200 feet of a elementary or secondary school.
  • TV and radio ads are allowed, but must be within hours typically only adults are viewing to avoid advertising to youth. Those hours are between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
  • Print ads are allowed.
  • Digital advertising must be restricted to those over age 21.

Restricted

There are no state statutes directly restricting type of marijuana advertising as a whole, rather most restrictions refer to alternative treatment centers which include:

New York

Allowed

  • Signage on buildings is allowed, however signage on a building owned by a registered organization must be only black and white.
  • Most forms of print media are allowed, but must meet stringent guidelines (below).
  • Digital media is allowed, and there are not yet state mandated restrictions on it.

Restricted

Illinois

Allowed

Restricted

Massachusetts

Allowed

  • While digital media is allowed, unsolicited pop-up advertisements are not allowed, and for mobile applications, social media, and websites, it must be ensured that the target audience is at least 85% over 21.
  • A brand’s own website must have an age-gate that verifies that site visitors are over 21 years old.
  • While TV and radio ads are allowed, it must be similarly ensured that at least 85% of the target audience is 21 or older.
  • While print media is allowed, coupons are not allowed, and price cannot be noted in print ads.
  • Sign based advertising can only be on the side of an establishment where the product is sold.

Restricted

  • Gifts, giveaways, and offers for free cannabis products are not allowed.
  • The use of radio or loudspeakers for marijuana advertisement is not allowed.
  • Signs or ads on public or private vehicles or within transit areas are not allowed.
  • Advertisement on promotional items such as cups, apparel, or novelty items is not allowed.
  • Advertising cannot feature cartoons or symbols typically aimed at advertising to minors.
  • All advertising and branding must include the statement “Please Consume Responsibly,” as well as at least two of the following warnings; This product may cause impairment and may be habit-forming", “Marijuana can impair concentration, coordination and judgment. Do not operate a vehicle or machinery under the influence of this drug”, “There may be health risks associated with consumption of this product”, “For use only by adults 21 years of age or older. Keep out of the reach of children.”, or “Marijuana should not be used by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.”

Oregon

Allowed

  • Nearly all types of advertising are allowed for marijuana in the state of Oregon, including storefronts, street side marketing, billboards, TV, radio, digital media, magazines, and newspapers.

Restricted

Ontario

Allowed

  • "Telecommunication" promotion, which includes Internet, cell phone, email, and social media are all allowed per Canadian national standards, however it has to be restricted to not be accessed by or aimed at a young person under 18.
  • Text messages campaigns are allowed.
  • While print media is allowed, it is not allowed to offer complimentary coupons or promotional items such as free sporting tickets with purchase in a print ad.

Restricted

  • Websites must require users to enter their exact birth date.
  • Ads on other digital platforms must be programmed to show up only for users of an indicated age.
  • Promotional items that are not cannabis and cannabis use accessories, can only be sold online or in non-cannabis retail outlets, not in cannabis retailers.

Alberta

Allowed

  • Advertising in all traditional media including television, radio, newspapers, magazines, outdoor advertising, fliers, billboards, transit shelters, inflatables, commercial and corporate vehicles or direct mail; is allowed.
  • Digital and social media advertising, including social media posts on news feeds and/or profiles, blogs, or websites is allowed.
The following allowances are the same for Alberta as listed above for Ontario, as per Canadian regulation:
  • "Telecommunication" promotion, which includes Internet, cell phone, email, and social media are all allowed per Canadian national standards, however it has to be restricted to not be accessed by or aimed at a young person under 18.
  • Text messages campaigns are allowed.
  • While print media is allowed, it is not allowed to offer complimentary coupons or promotional items such as free sporting tickets with purchase in a print ad.
  • Promotional items are allowed, as long as the items are not aimed at targeting youth.

Restricted

Research Strategy

In order to provide an overivew of cannabis advertising rules and regulations in each of the required states and provinces (Washington, New Jersey, New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, Oregon, Ontario, and Alberta), information was sources from state regulatory documentation and government websites, as well as other reputable media sources compiling data directly from government regulatory guidelines and reports.

Research proposal:

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