cannabis advertising restrictions & resources

While the cannabis industry is one of the fastest-growing industries in America, cannabis is still classified as a Schedule I drug. And because Schedule I drugs are illegal at the federal level, advertising cannabis products faces a number of barriers other products do not.

5 cannabis advertising challenges other industries don’t face:

1. wait, a minute mr. postman

The United States Postal Service will not deliver anything even promoting a cannabis retailer, let alone any cannabis-related products.

2. a space made for radio

Radio ads for cannabis products are illegal federally, even if they might be legal in some of the states that allow recreational use.

3. death by taxes

Legal advertising of cannabis products still cannot be written off as a businesses expense on taxes.

4. schedule this

The federal government could technically come down on cannabis retailers and their advertising partners with felony charges for promoting a Schedule I drug.

5. it’s google’s world, we just live in it

Google does not allow the promotion of any cannabis products, even if it is for legal medical or recreational purposes.

Despite numerous (and at times varying, depending on who you talk to) regulations, digital marketing and social media currently provide some of the best advertising opportunities for cannabis products. This is due in large part to there being far fewer regulations and barriers to entry as compared to  more traditional forms of advertising, but even digital has its limits.

Google AdWords does not allow cannabis advertising – though some businesses have had success. Facebook and Instagram also do not allow advertising that explicitly promotes cannabis products, and they’ve begun to take a more active role in shutting down accounts they feel don’t comply with their Terms of Use. YouTube does allow users to upload content that promotes cannabis products, but it doesn’t allow users to run that content as the ads that play before others videos.

Cannabis advertising regulations will continue to evolve as more states move to legalize marijuana for medical and recreational use. One of the best resources for cannabis businesses is the regularly updated state-by-state guide to cannabis advertising regulations from Leafly.

Despite all these challenges, marketing in the cannabis industry is not impossible, and quite a few companies have already separated themselves from the pack as industry leaders largely because of their marketing endeavors. Some businesses have broken down barriers by getting their products in traditional forms of advertising, while others have blazed news trails, by utilizing available platforms in unique and engaging ways.

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2017 cannabis sales trends to watch

2016 was an unforgettable year for the cannabis industry. Four new states legalized recreational use of marijuana by adults (including the mammoth, California); while another four legalized the use of medical marijuana. Meanwhile, sales in the states that had already legalized cannabis reached nearly $7 billion, an astronomical figure. With more opportunity in new states and the industry continuing to grow in mature in other states, experts expect to see tremendous growth once again in 2017.

here five of the biggest trends expected to dominate cannabis industry news this year:

washington cannabis sales vs price

Chart via Headset.io

lower Prices

The more states legalize marijuana for recreational use, the more competition there will be within the industry. This is good news for consumers, as more competition tends to mean lower prices, something we’ve already seen over the last couple of years in the states that have legalized.

national leaders emergence

The most recent update of our national cannabis consumer attitudinal report reveals that there is very little recognition within the cannabis industry of cannabis brands. As legal recreational marijuana continues gaining momentum across the United States, more and more money will be invested into the industry to help establish some of the first nationally recognized brands.

cannabis industry consolidation

The entrance of more investment money into the cannabis industry will also result in many of the current smaller operations getting bought up by larger companies, or merging with other smaller brands to be able to compete with the bigger companies. All of this meaning it will likely require a significant increase of resources to be able to compete as national players.

ancillary businesses boost

Expect to see a major surge in businesses that deal with the needs of the cannabis industry and consumers, but do not actually sell cannabis products. As the cannabis market continues to boom and surge, the needs of cannabis enthusiasts will continue to increase and broaden, and there will be many new businesses poised to capitalize on the growing ancillary market.

recreational & medical marketing to diverge

The way cannabis products have been marketed and sold in the medical and recreational markets has been fairly similar over the last few years. Our research report also reveled that very few consumers were able to identify today’s top recreational or medical brands. But as the recreational market continues to take off, expect to see a divergence in these branding strategies. Experts predict the medical market will likely more closely resemble the biotech industry, with marketing and branding strategies following a similar approach, while the recreational marijuana industry will likely begin to resemble the beer and liquor industry and their branding and marketing approaches. These are just five of the trends experts foresee for the cannabis industry throughout 2017. What do you think 2017 has in store for the industry? Add your predictions in the comments! And if you want to learn more about the only national attitudinal research study on cannabis brands that exists today, download our report. 

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Washington Cannabis Sales 2016 Recap

Recent data from the state of Washington indicates its budding cannabis industry continues to boom, which is great news for the state, as the industry has become a tremendous source of sales tax income. Sales have consistently increased since cannabis became legal for recreational use in Washington. In 2016, sales went up by an average of seven percent each month, with its overall market essentially doubling from 2015.

washington 2016 cannabis sales infographic

Overall, the state saw $626M in legal cannabis sales in 2016. That compares to $355M in 2015 and $42M in 2014. Here’s a quick breakdown of that number:

flower sales

Flower accounted for $376M in sales in 2016, with $208M going to hybrid, $99M to Indica and $69M to Sativa. It is interesting to note, however, that flower’s market share is on the decline, going from about 64% of sales in 2015 to about 58% in 2016. This is common across the board in the industry, and is likely due to the regular introduction of brand new cannabis products to the market.

concentrates sales

Concentrates accounted for $125M in sales in 2016, with $42M going to vape, $37M to unspecified concentrate products, $24M to wax, $12M to oils and $10M to shatter.

edibles sales

Edibles accounted for $57M in sales in 2016, divided up in this way: $1M for candy, $11M for chocolates, $9M for infused foods, $9M for tinctures, $6M for pills/other and $5M for beverages.

other sales

Miscellaneous marijuana products accounted for $68M in sales in 2016, including $60M for pre-rolled products, $4M for topical products and $4M for “others.” An interesting note about pre-rolled cannabis products: one study revealed that about 30% of all purchases at retail marijuana locations included at least one pre-rolled item, most likely due to their convenience. The market for legal cannabis in Washington is looking incredibly strong, with continued growth throughout 2017 a near-certainty. Expect to see greater segmentation in products along demographic lines and more types of products debuting throughout the year as the industry continues to mature and expand. 

locations

Seattle

The Bay Area

contact

(206) 420-6121
info@thematters.group

hours

Mon - Fri : 8am–6pm PST

Sat - Sun: Closed