Social media giant softens slightly in its cautious approach to CBD advertising

Meta has joined Twitter and Google in updating its advertising policies on CBD products. The company behind Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms has said it will start to allow the marketing of non-ingestible CBD products as well as general education, advocacy or “public service announcements” regarding CBD and related products.

The policy will also allow the marketing of hemp products that do not contain CBD and have a THC level below 0.3% THC – which Meta believes should only apply to hemp seed and hemp fibre but may be viewed as a loophole to promote non-CBD, non-THC cannabinoid products.

Perhaps as a way to counter this, the new policy does stipulate that related psychoactive components are still prohibited, but there are conceivably still potential loopholes there.

To further curtail any loophole-threading activity, Meta says it will require advertisers of CBD products (with no more than 0.3% THC) to get certification from Legitscript and have written permission from Meta – as well as comply with all applicable local laws or “established industry codes and guidelines”. It is unclear what exactly those established industry codes and guidelines may be.

The written approval from Meta and certification from Legitscript appears to be Meta’s way of cherry-picking solutions brought in by the other companies ahead of it in opening up platform advertising to hemp/cannabinoid brands.

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    Twitter requires pre-approval for firms before their campaigns can run, while Google is using Legitscript as its pre-certification company. Presumably, by using both, Meta hopes to avoid some of the problems and criticisms that have continued to dog its predecessors’ moves towards more liberal cannabinoid advertising policies. Whether these two measures will be enough to stop Meta from encountering similar difficulties is the big question going forward.

    It should also be noted that – like Twitter – Meta’s advertising remains geographically locked.

    For the time being the company will only run ads in Canada, Mexico and the US, where companies will have to ensure their targeting does not include the likelihood of ads being seen by under-18s. Advertisers in the other two countries can only run non-CBD, non-THC products or do campaigns that educate, advocate or give a public service announcement.

    This is likely because the regulation of CBD (and indeed wider hemp and cannabis categories) remains something of a quagmire in Mexico while CBD in Canada, whether or not derived from hemp, continues to remain under regulations governing cannabis despite promises to move to a non-prescription model that would allow over-the-counter sale of CBD health products in the country.

    Freddie Dawson CannIntelligence staff

    Freddie Dawson

    Senior news editor
    Freddie studied at King’s College, London and City University and worked for publications including The Times, The Malay Mail, PathfinderBuzz and Solar Summary before joining the ECigIntelligence team. He has extensive experience in covering fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), manufacturing and technological innovation.