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My Roof, My Rules; The Restrictive Limits on Cannabis Advertising

Even if you’re a 30+ male, like me, let’s pretend you’re a 14-year-old girl. Your father is taking you out to buy some clothes for the new school year. Before he will lay down his credit card, you have a list of rules and regulations to read. The list looks something like this:

  • No shorts/skirts shorter than your fingertips at your sides.
  • No tops that reveal shoulders, back, or midriff.
  • No underpants with a back thinner than your butt cheeks.
  • No makeup.
  • Sports bras only.
  • Strait jackets only.
  • Long, gray pants only.
  • Anything not specifically listed defers to my final judgment.

Love, Dad

You’re probably horrified. You’re going to look like a dork (or worse) and no one will be able to see your personality shine through your style.

For the cannabis industry, this tyrannical father is the advertising restrictions currently in place.

Let’s take a look at the strait jacket/long, gray pants style-restrictions currently burdening the cannabis industry.

Hide Your Face, Hide Your Body

Cannabis just wants to be itself. Unfortunately, packaging restrictions hobble the creative output of cannabis marketing (1).

Plain packaging, limited logo sizes, and warning labels all blend together to give cannabis marketing a very drab look. When trying to expand your brand’s name, the limit on the packaging negatively impacts your growth potential.

For example, if I try a strain that my friend has recently purchased, I may get the name of it from that person, but without the visual packaging to connect to it, it’s less likely that I’ll purchase that strain myself or stop for a closer look if I see it in a dispensary.

If you’re depressed about not being able to brand yourself through creative packaging, perhaps there is hope in store displays?

There’s No Hope in Store Displays

There’s no hope in store displays because they simply aren’t allowed. Dispensaries are required to have nondescript exteriors with zero window displays showing products sold inside.

Tough luck. Could you try your hand at online marketing?

Google Will Crush You

You could try it, but Google will smack it down.

Their advertising restrictions are in place to prevent them from being held liable by the Federal Government for advertising a Schedule 1 substance.

You Have No Friends

The world of cannabis marketing and advertising is a dark and lonely one. Some traditional advertising, social media, and face-to-face avenues are accessible, but the advertising culture as a whole can be a disheartening one.

Have you called your Senator or Congressperson to ask them to support cannabis legalization at the federal level?


  1. “How to Market with Plain Packaging Laws.” Accessed May 16, 2018. https://cannabispackagingnews.com/2018/04/20/how-to-market-with-plain-packaging-laws/
  2. “A Guide to Marketing and Advertising Restrictions in the Cannabis Industry.” Accessed May 16, 2018. https://www.teammaryjane.com/advertising/cannabis-advertising-restrictions/


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