Twitter becomes first social media platform to allow cannabis ads

February 16, 2023  11:31

Twitter changed its policy this week and became the first social media platform to allow American cannabis companies to advertise their products on this platform, although there are a number of restrictions, Reuters reports.

In fact, Elon Musk, who was criticized for smoking marijuana while hosting a podcast, has thus confirmed rumors that Twitter will become more "friendly" to marijuana under his leadership.

"Moving forward – the social network will allow for the promotion of regulated THC [(tetrahydrocannabinol)] and CBD [(cannabinoids)]-containing cannabis products, accessories, services and more," Twitter said in a blog post.

While this change will allow companies to advertise products that contain cannabis, there will still be some restrictions on what can and cannot be advertised. According to Axios, the ads cannot directly promote or suggest the sale of cannabis except for certain products containing cannabidiol. There are also age and location restrictions.

For many cannabis advertisers, this is a breakthrough opportunity to reach their markets and find their audience without resorting to short-cut solutions, said Amy Deneson, Co-Founder of the Cannabis Media Council, a trade association dedicated to education in the field.

To place such ads on Twitter, companies must be pre-authorized by Twitter and meet numerous of requirements.

These companies must:

  • Be licensed by the relevant authorities,
  • Only target their ads to areas where they are licensed to advertise their products or services online,
  • Not target persons under the age of 21,
  • Assume all legal responsibility for compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

In addition, the advertisement must not contain any claim or visual representation that the product in question is beneficial for health.

Advertising crisis

Ever since Elon Musk acquired Twitter, advertisers have been leaving this social media platform in droves. According to Pathmatics, about 625 of Twitter's top 1,000 advertisers—including major brands such as Coca-Cola, Unilever, Jeep, Wells Fargo, and Merck—had stopped advertising on Twitter as of January. Monthly advertising revenue of this social media platform fell by more than 60% from October to January 25, from around $127 million to $48 million. Previously, Twitter received about 44.5 billion in annual revenue from advertising.

Various reasons are cited for advertisers leaving Twitter: lack of trust in it, mass layoffs at Twitter—at one time the company had more than 7,500 employees, whereas now there are about 2,300 left—, due to which many advertisers lost their contacts at the company and faced a series of difficulties. However, Financial Times experts believe that the main reason for the departure of large advertisers from Twitter is the person of Elon Musk, who personally called the managers of some companies, "scolded" them, and had conflicts with them.

Twitter has come up with a number of initiatives to stem the mass exodus of advertisers and bring them back. For example, the social media platform offered advertisers free advertising, more favorable terms, removed the ban on political advertising that was in place since 2019, and gave companies more control over the placement of their ads on Twitter.

In December 2022, Apple and Amazon resumed advertising on Twitter.

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