Internet giants aren’t budging on their current advertising rules, which prohibit marijuana ads.
Google and Facebook confirmed they will not run advertisements for marijuana businesses, even in legal states such as Colorado and Washington. Both websites cited their existing drug policies for not accepting ads from legal marijuana businesses. Twitter, Bing and Yahoo also have strict bans on advertising drug-related products.
According to Facebook’s advertising guidelines, advertisements “may not promote or facilitate the sale or consumption of illegal or recreational drugs, tobacco products, or drug or tobacco paraphernalia.” The policy does not prohibit marijuana businesses from creating Facebook business pages, however.
Google’s AdWords policy specifically cites marijuana as one of numerous drugs it will not allow advertising for, and also prohibits the advertising of drug paraphernalia.
The lack of advertisements on these websites further muddies the waters for marijuana businesses, since state laws usually include bans on traditional advertising, such as print, television or radio. But traditional advertising might not be the best strategy for attracting customers.
In Colorado, state regulations allow marijuana businesses to purchase ads in newspapers and on radio and television, so long as the business can provide “reliable evidence” that no more than 30% of the viewers or readers are under the age of 21. But few marijuana businesses have purchased traditional advertisements, due to the media exposure they’ve received after January 1.