On July 11th, Meta announced a major update to their advertising policy on Facebook and Instagram. The new policy for CBD and related products loosens restrictions and enables the promotion of legally permissible, non-ingestible CBD in the U.S., with some conditions.
This shift in policy is important for social media as it allows people to discover more products and services that are available to them.
However, this change does not address one key issue: legal THC companies/brands still cannot advertise on Facebook or Instagram.
This hypocrisy demonstrates the social media giant’s hesitation to accept cannabis as a mainstream industry, despite its legal status in many states and countries worldwide.
This hesitation may have been forced upon them after Twitter loosened its policies, leaving Facebook/Meta to follow suit or fall behind their competitors.
Loosened Restrictions for CBD and Hemp Ads on Facebook and Instagram
Under the new policy, advertisers do not need written permission to run ads that promote or offer the sale of hemp products that don’t contain CBD or more than 0.3% THC (e.g. hemp seed and hemp fiber).
They can also educate, advocate, or give public service announcements related to CBD and related products as long as these ads don’t offer any prohibited products for sale. Ads for CBD products must not target anyone under 18 years of age and are only allowed in the U.S.
Advertisers that want to promote or offer the sale of CBD products must be certified with Legitscript, have written permission from Meta, and comply with all applicable local laws required or established industry codes and guidelines.
Despite this recent update, legal THC companies/brands are still prohibited from advertising on Facebook or Instagram. This hypocrisy demonstrates the social media giant’s hesitation to accept cannabis as a mainstream industry, despite its legal status in many states and countries around the world.
This oversight is especially noteworthy, considering that many THC companies are legally licensed and regulated by their respective state governments.
To deny them access to advertising on one of the largest platforms in the world only serves to stifle an already emerging industry. Until Facebook/Meta can come to terms with this reality, they will continue to be seen as complicit in maintaining outdated stances regarding cannabis legalization.
Forced Changes After Twitter’s Policy Change?
The recent update from Meta may have been partially influenced by their competitor Twitter, who recently announced that they will now allow specific cannabis companies to advertise their products on their platform.
This shift in policy from Twitter put pressure on Facebook/Meta to keep up, as the two social media giants are often pitted against each other in a battle for users and market share. As such, Facebook/Meta likely felt a need to loosen restrictions in order to remain competitive.
While this update provides some relief for CBD companies and brands, it still leaves many legal THC companies out in the cold.
Until the social media giant can accept cannabis as a legitimate industry and allow legal THC companies to advertise their products on its platforms, there will continue to be an element of hypocrisy at play.
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