Facebook is an obvious go-to for any business hoping to promote themselves, but is it okay to advertise marijuana on it? Recreational use is now legal in several states, and medical use is sanctioned in far more. Nevertheless, proprietors of marijuana dispensaries and related businesses must still adhere to certain laws and restrictions when it comes to advertising. This is especially true for businesses hoping to reach multi-state consumers. Cannabis websites alone generally do not get into hot water, but where does Facebook fall among legal marketing platforms?
It turns out that Facebook is still a bit of a gray area. Fortunately, however, much of this grayness comes from misunderstandings about the social network’s policies. The fact is that posts and sidebar advertisements concerning marjuana are still prohibited by Facebook (yes, even if they originated in areas where such content is not illegal). This is basically Facebook’s way of protecting its own interests, since after all, marijuana still remains illegal on a federal level.
But all hope is not lost. Facebook pages for dispensaries and marijuana-related businesses are still very much alive. And in general, they do not get blocked or taken down. The key difference here is that simply creating a page for your business is not illegal (just look at all the different kinds of pages out there, about virtually anything you can think of) nor is creating a page advocating for the legalization of marijuana, but advertising your product is. So even if you already have a marijuana website design you’re pretty proud of and/or have mastered marijuana SEO, you should still seize the important opportunity of creating an active Facebook page for your business. Then, you just need to be rather careful in your wording of your posts to make them not appear to be advertisements (simply sharing articles on marijuana-related news or sharing marijuana websites is a good start, for instance).
Now, because of the “no advertising” policy, this means that the vast majority of your page followers will have to be grown organically. Be sure to put a Facebook symbol or even a “like us on Facebook” sign in your store (if you own a store), your website, or even on T-shirts and other merchandise. Marketing is really all about creativity, after all.
Now, if your page or any of your posts DO happen to get blocked by Facebook, it never hurts to shoot their service center a message about it (make sure it is well-written and polite). You never know– sometimes what one person may perceive as blatant advertising may be viewed as something else entirely by another. It’s your business, after all, and it is worth the effort.