September 17, 2013

Recreational Marijuana Retailers to Face Major Advertising Restrictions in Colorado

pot advertising
By Anne Holland

Want to post a video on YouTube about your new marijuana store? Or maybe run a special offer on Twitter? Interested in placing ads on any media that target the out-of-state tourist market? Under Colorado’s retail marijuana rules released earlier this month, all of these types of advertising would be against the law.

These restrictions are noteworthy on a national scale because other states may very well copy them someday. And they may affect policies for national consumer cannabis media.

Based on the limitations, retail establishments catering to recreational (adult) consumers could be limited in how large and how quickly they grow.

Under the published rules, advertising that will not be allowed includes:

  • Mass media, including TV, billboards, radio and print ads, visible to audiences that might include 30% or more minors.
  • Internet videos, radio shows, and podcasts that can’t be blocked off from minors
  • All pop-up ads online
  • Flyers or leaflets handed out or distributed to anyone in public – including on cars and door-to-door flyer drops
  • Mobile ads or apps that anyone under 21 might download or see
  • Signage or sponsorships at events where 30% or more of the audience — or passersby who could see the signage — might be minors
  • Any ads whatsoever run on media outside of Colorado, including tourism publications

So, what’s left for a budding cannabusiness entrepreneur wishing to highlight their retail establishment to the consumer market?

Entrepreneurs will do well to start building their own targeted customer email lists as part of their marketing plans. Emailed offers to a proprietary email list may be fine, as long as a demonstrable barrier has been placed in front of any online sign-up form requiring that all opt-ins be over 21.

Look to cannabis-specific sites such as WeedMaps and Leafly. These organizations are poised to be the big winners from these rules – provided they re-implement their “21 and over” barrier buttons. Advertising on those sites would be permitted under that scenario.

Purchasing sponsored links on sites such as HighTimes, which are not over 21-protected, may still be an option. If pursuing this scenario, entrepreneurs should consult legal advice as to whether an “over 21 only” button is needed in front of their own site or landing page.

Although Google and Facebook ads would probably be allowed because they can be targeted by age and geographic location, Facebook itself has been turning down marijuana-related ads even for ancillary businesses, such as ones for the National Marijuana Business Conference & Expo.

Also, branded t-shirts, hats and other apparel are not mentioned in the rules and thus are currently allowable. However, chances are they could be nixed in future because they are banned under federal tobacco advertising laws, which Colorado legislators may review.

Some commentators have wondered if these rules could be struck down with a court challenge based on the Colorado constitution’s famously strong free speech clause. But, if that occurs, it will be far in the future. In the meantime, Colorado retailers need to place ads very carefully.


5 Comments:

  1. It’s unfortunate that marijuana is still unfairly stigmatized so horribly. Hopefully this starts to change soon as more starts begin legalizing it. Hang in there Colorado!

  2. The stupid nazi pigs allow beer and coffee commercials don’t they?

  3. These restrictions are strong, but it leaves room for new industry. If you are looking for some awesome ganja recipes check out ganjalicious.com

  4. Geez, so much for capitalism, huh?

    I actually read a cool blog yesterday that gave me an idea.

    Aside from starting a brick and mortar operating, wouldn’t opening an LLC outside of the state be an option for these guys?

  5. That’s weird because I live in San Diego (CA) and the Delivery Service that I use (Siren’s Treasure) advertises on Facebook quite often. But maybe they are creative with how they post their ads I never really paid attention.

    Anyway hopefully restrictions become more relaxed because I’ve had nothing but great experiences with delivery services here in San Diego.

Post Your Comment:


Please note:
Comments are moderated by our editors who do their best to approve comments ASAP. As MMJ Business Daily is focused on business, we approve comments that are specifically relevant to industry professionals. General opinions and questions about cannabis may not be posted.

Chicago Solidifies Rules on Marijuana Businesses

Chicago will allow medical marijuana dispensaries in commercial and business districts – including popular tourist [click to continue...]

Connecticut Dispensaries Preparing to Open

connecticutmmj

Medical marijuana dispensaries in Connecticut are about to welcome their first customers, even though the [click to continue...]

Oregon Bank Looking to Work With Marijuana Industry

An Oregon-based financial institution has confirmed it is in talks with federal and state regulators [click to continue...]

NY Urged to Accelerate MMJ Program

NewYorkMedicalMarijuana

Cannabis advocates and lawmakers in New York are urging the state to accelerate implementation of [click to continue...]

Senators Ask Feds for Cannabis Guidance, Consistency

Senators from Colorado and Washington have jointly appealed to the White House and the U.S. [click to continue...]

Study: WA Rec Industry Not Creating Tourism Boom

Interest in traveling to Seattle has dipped slightly despite the start of recreational cannabis sales [click to continue...]

Rand Paul Pressuring Lawmakers to Declare Marijuana Stance

Rand_Paul_official_portrait_with_flag_edit

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has filed a series of marijuana-related amendments in recent days, [click to continue...]

CBD, Hemp Bill Introduced in House

A Republican lawmaker has introduced a bill in the U.S. House that would effectively legalize [click to continue...]

90% Support MMJ in Florida

Image for legalization of medical marijuana

Opponents of medical marijuana legalization in Florida have ramped up publicity for their campaign in [click to continue...]

Stiff Competition for LV Dispensary Licenses

Applicants for medical marijuana dispensary licenses in Las Vegas face some hefty competition. Roughly 47 [click to continue...]

New York Times Urges Marijuana Legalization

times

The New York Times editorial board is calling for an end to the federal ban [click to continue...]

Debt Fund Launched for Illinois MMJ Startups

Entrepreneurs looking to enter Illinois’ medical marijuana industry could get help with one of the [click to continue...]

FL Company Nabs $500K Funding Commitment

FloridaMedicalMarijuana

A Florida company has secured up to $500,000 in investments to fuel its business interests [click to continue...]

$38.5M Potential Tax Haul From Legalized Cannabis in Oregon

Cannabis legalization in Oregon could generate $38.5 million in taxes for the state during the [click to continue...]