What About Cannabis Advertising?

As more states legalize cannabis, the cannabis industry continues to put its trust in Out Of Home advertising, with 42% of marijuana ad spending going to OOH.

As voters voice their approval for recreational marijuana consumption, cannabis hits a major milestone.

The adult use of cannabis is legal in 16 states total plus Washington D.C. However being legal for recreational use doesn't mean advertising is also legal. Cannabis is still illegal at a federal level, meaning the cannabis industry faces challenges to navigate at state and local regulations on sales, taxes and of course advertising.

The advertisement for cannabis is a strict, very particular and fairly new one. OOH regulations usually cover cannabis, vaping ,dispensaries, brands, and CBD oil/hemp.

Talking about regulations makes one question pop in mind: Is there any value for my brand to advertise? The answer is: yes.

The OOH is a multi-billion-dollar industry, and the benefits of advertising are bigger than you would think. With broadcast , radio, and online marketing limited in most states and banned in others, the outdoor advertising platforms make it easy for cannabis brands to effectively target consumers compliantly.

The OAAA (Outdoor Advertising Association of America) provided comprehensive state laws on cannabis legislation and advertising regulations.

Typical advertising regulations are similar to those for alcohol:

  • Buffer from schools and places of worship. OAAA’s Code calls for a 500-foot buffer for ads promoting products not legal for sale to minors
  • Some state-mandated buffers for cannabis ads are 1,000 feet
  • No false claims
  • Cannabis advertising should be aimed at adults, not youth
  • No consumption of cannabis or promotion of intoxication depicted in ads
  • No promotion of medical marijuana for recreational use
  • No symbols that resemble established medical associations
  • No colloquial/slang references to marijuana
  • No encouragement of inter-state transport of marijuana
  • No medical claims

But what if I'm really interested in doing outdoor advertising? Well here are some tips to keep in mind while planning for OOH.

  1. Know the state regulations where you plan to advertise.
  2. Partner with a seasoned agency or OOH operator. Make sure they confirm compliance with state and local laws.
  3. What rules apply to the artwork? Just because there are regulations doesn't mean you can't be creative.
  4. Establish specific goals for your campaign. Is it to drive traffic to a location? Or build brand awareness?
  5. Measure your campaigns success. This will help you to measure your return on investment, compare performance by unit and optimize your campaign.

Regulations continue to evolve, and there is no question that OOH advertising will continue to be a staple for cannabis marketing plans and help companies get the word out about their products and brands.

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