Who’s Keeping an Eye on Advertising by Your Cannabis Clients?

November 11, 2019

While some new entrants to the cannabis space may continue to think of it as the wild west, experienced industry experts understand the limits posed by a thicket of overlapping and sometimes contradictory federal and state regulations. Alongside banking, zoning and patent considerations, cannabis businesses must also tread carefully around advertising their products.

Regulations on advertising vary from state to state where recreational cannabis is legal, but most focus on prohibiting advertisements that make cannabis attractive to minors and barring cannabis companies from advertising to people who live in states where the substance is still illegal. (Of course, since it is still classified as a Schedule 1 narcotic at the federal level, one could argue that we all live in states where the substance is illegal.) Companies also must take care not to make claims about their products’ safety or health benefits.

If you serve as outside counsel in this space, you obviously have a handle on what state laws say your clients can do, but have you worked with your in-house counterpart to create a plan for training your client’s employees and reviewing all advertising to ensure compliance? Social media is an especially fraught space, since the speed of posting and sharing can easily outpace careful consideration of how the content’s meaning might change in other contexts.

Don’t let illegal advertising slip through the cracks and cause a headache for your client. Support your in-house counterpart in creating a plan that will cover all the bases and keep product promotion on the right side of the law.