Elon Musk Takes His Pro-Marijuana Stance to A New Level, as Twitter Promotes Itself as A Venue for Cannabis Advertisements!

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Famously, Elon Musk was caught on camera during a podcast puffing on a spliff, a combination of marijuana and tobacco, cementing his reputation as a cannabis advocate.

Now, only a few months after spending $44 billion to acquire Twitter, he has made his most significant move to date in favor of the cannabis sector by making his social media service more open to cannabis advertisements than any other platform.

Advertising related to cannabis was made permissible in jurisdictions where they were previously illegal, and on Wednesday, Twitter modified its ad standards to allow licensed cannabis-related companies to broadcast ads (with several restrictions).

Twitter’s head of U.S. ad sales and partnerships, Alexa Alianiello, wrote in a blog post, “As of today, in some US jurisdictions we have taken efforts to loosen our Cannabis Ads policy to enable additional options for responsible cannabis marketing.”

While other big social media platforms, like Facebook’s parent company Meta, have long outlawed cannabis advertising, Twitter has recently taken a far more accepting stance. Only in the context of political campaigns and elections does Meta even allow for the possibility of cannabis advertising, and even then, only with a disclaimer specifying who paid for the marketing materials.

As cannabis sales become legal in more places, Twitter has been more lenient. Presently, 21 states have passed legislation permitting recreational cannabis usage, despite the fact that it is still illegal at the federal level.

Twitter’s move also comes at a time when the cannabis industry is experiencing tremendous economic turmoil, which is generating widespread stock price declines and even the collapse of some companies. Retail and wholesale cannabis businesses alike are struggling to survive in the face of rising costs and more competition from unlicensed vendors.

Even still, Twitter’s new policy’s consequences are still not entirely evident. Due to the new laws’ stringent ad limitations, advertising for most cannabis goods is still prohibited on the platform.

Advertisements specifically cannot “promote or sell the sale of Cannabis (including CBD- cannabinoids),” for instance. One exception is topical, or non-ingestible, CBD products derived from hemp “having equal to or less than the government-set threshold of 0.3% THC.”

Alianiello gave hints about this effect in her blog article by referencing more broad cannabis advertising campaigns. Ads for CBD, THC and cannabis-related products and services will be allowed on Twitter going forward, she explained.

The new regulations seem to allow advertisements for cannabis delivery services and related products like vaping pens.

Twitter’s new policies prohibit ads for cannabis products from being directed towards users under the age of 21, depicting users when they are under the influence of cannabis, or showing underage users using such products. Advertisements cannot include any athletes or celebrities, nor may they make any health claims.

Finally, in order to run ads on Twitter, businesses need to get verified. The timeframe for that procedure is still unknown.

In spite of this, Alianiello advocated for the social media platform by claiming it to be a secure place where users may feel comfortable tweeting and discussing cannabis without fear of repercussion. She also disclosed that cannabis is more frequently discussed in tweets than other topics that any Twitter user would be familiar with.

Twitter discussions around cannabis have grown in tandem with the industry. In the United States, one of the largest markets for cannabis, “it is bigger than the conversation around themes like pets, cooking, and golf1, as well as food and beverage categories such fast food, coffee, and liquor,” Alianiello added.

She elaborated, “The cannabis area on Twitter is exciting and engaging, with individuals Tweeting about their experiences using cannabis — whether medicinally, for wellness, or recreation. They also advocate brands, products, and retail locations. Topics include the future of cannabis in terms of legislation and law, economic growth, and social impact.

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