Can dispensaries advertise on facebook using cannabis advertising

Can Dispensaries Advertise on Facebook Using Cannabis Advertising?

Paid advertising of cannabis and marijuana on Facebook is banned. If you sponsor a post or pay for an ad that contains the words “cannabis,” “dispensary,” “marijuana,” “weed,” or other similar words, your account will be suspended on Facebook. 


“Ads must not promote the sale or use of illegal, prescription, or recreational drugs. Due to federal restrictions, cannabis companies are prohibited from running ads even in states where cannabis is legal. Fail to comply with platform advertising guidelines and Facebook can shut down your ads and/or delete your account without notice.” – Facebook Advertising Policies, Drugs & Drug-Related Products Section.


While there may be some ways to get around these advertising guideline restrictions. You have to consider if the risk is worth the reward? 


If you are willing to accept the risk that your brand could be permanently banned from Facebook now into the future, then take the risk. However, you are risking the future when Facebook does not ban or restrict the advertising of cannabis on their platform. This does not mean Facebook should not be a part of your marketing mix for driving sales to your dispensary. However, Facebook, as it is today, could be a better place to drive consumers to the top of your sales funnel. Instead, you want to use Facebook to re-engage consumers already in your sales funnel and increase repeat purchases, average order value, and customer lifetime value from your existing clientele. In this article, we will unveil how to do Facebook marketing right and the best places to advertise your dispensary that are not restricted or banned. 


Table of Contents

Is it Possible to Advertise Cannabis Using Facebook Ads?

Why is Advertising Cannabis on Facebook Restricted for Dispensaries Using Paid Ads?

Can You Advertise Cannabis in Organic Posts Without a Paid Ad on Facebook?

3 Ways You Could Use Your Website to Advertise Your Cannabis Products and Services Without Facebook

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it Possible to Advertise Cannabis Using Facebook Ads?

The short answer is Facebook’s advertising guidelines prohibit the advertisement of cannabis in paid ads on their platform. The long answer is if you are willing to risk your brand being permanently banned from Facebook and give up future access to the platform when they lift the ban on cannabis. Then you could circumvent their guidelines and run paid advertising undetected until you get caught. Here is what you should do to circumvent Facebook’s guidelines:


  • Run educational and informative content advertising.


  • Promote ads containing data, statistics, quotes, legislative updates, health reports, research results, and more content related to these themes.


  • Pay close attention to Facebook’s advertising guidelines so you always adhere to their current rules.


  • If you outsource your paid advertising to an agency, freelancer, or employee, ensure that they comply with Facebook’s guidelines so you do not risk the permanent suspension of your Facebook page and ad account.


  • If you are willing to take the risk of breaking the law, you could also look into cloaking your ads. We do not recommend doing this, and do not participate in cloaking. However, everyone has the right to make their own decisions.

Here is what you should not do to ensure that your ads are in compliance:


  • You could post images of products, but they contain images of cannabis anywhere in the ad or on your website. You cannot imply that the products are for sale, trade, or delivery.


  • Do not ask people to buy your products. Remember you are focusing on educational and informative content.


  • Do not list the prices of products to advertise cannabis.


  • Do not encourage people to visit, contact, or inquire about your dispensary in your Facebook’s ad.


  • Do not post anything that explains how to sell, grow, or use cannabis when you advertise on Facebook.


  • Do not list anyway to get in contact to purchase cannabis or cannabis-related products from your dispensary. Do not even post about products like rolling papers or bongs advertised on Facebook.


  • Do not make any medical claims in your advertising. 


  • No games or competitions related to consumption in your ads.


  • No cartoons, dancing animals, or imagery that appeals to children in your ads.


  • Cannot depict the consumption of cannabis, no matter if cannabis is legal in your jurisdiction or not in your ads.


  • Cannot depict people being “high,” even if it is indirectly depicted in your advertisements.

Why is Advertising Cannabis on Facebook Restricted for Dispensaries Using Paid Ads

Why is Advertising Cannabis on Facebook Restricted for Dispensaries Using Paid Ads?

Advertising on the social media of Facebook is banned for dispensaries using paid ads because cannabis is federally illegal in the United States of America. Even in countries where cannabis is legal, you still cannot run paid advertising for cannabis on social media. The reason why is the social media of Facebook does not want to be held legally liable for cannabis products being sold that violate laws.

Even more, the social media of Facebook is worried about damaging its reputation since users only engage with Facebook because it provides them with an excellent experience. If the social media of Facebook damages its reputation, it will lose its users and revenue. Imagine if a protective mother sees ads for cannabis products on their children’s Facebook social media feed; this is just one example of many that could have serious consequences for Facebook. 

Can You Advertise Cannabis in Organic Posts Without a Paid Ad on Facebook?

You can create organic posts to reach people on Facebook, but you must follow the same guidelines that paid advertising has on Facebook. Dispensaries can use Facebook pages and groups to build a community from your posts. The goal of using Facebook for dispensaries is not to acquire new customers. Instead, you want to use Facebook similar to your email list and grow it organically by encouraging your existing customer base to share your page and posts with their friends by running giveaways and posting memes to encourage them to tag their friends.

Once you have a following on your Facebook page, you want to use the platform to stay top of mind with potential customers and remind existing customers that you are here for them when they are ready to purchase in the future. Facebook fits in the middle of your sales funnel, not at the top or the bottom:


Since cannabis dispensaries are not able to effectively acquire new customers in the cannabis industry using paid marketing on social media like Facebook.


How can a cannabis business grow in the restrictive marketing climate in the cannabis industry?

3 Ways You Could Use Your Website to Advertise Your Cannabis Products and Services Without Facebook

  1. SEO

SEO is one of the only cannabis marketing channels that are not banned or restricted. SEO is the best way to grow cannabis brands and cannabis businesses, which delivers a nearly infinite ROI. Using SEO, you can capture people at every stage of the sales funnel, from the top to the middle and the bottom of the funnel. Unlike paid dispensary advertising on Google which is banned, where the moment you stop paying to promote your ad content is the moment all revenue and traffic stop retail business. Your business’s revenue and traffic continue even after you stop investing in SEO. However, you will need to utilize web design to create your website and take advantage of SEO media marketing.

2. Email Marketing

Email marketing delivers the largest return on investment out of all marketing channels where you can advertise. However, email marketing is not a form of cannabis advertising that generates new traffic to your cannabis dispensary. You need to drive traffic to your website or store and then get these potential customers and current customers to sign up for your email list.

The only downside to email marketing is that you need to drive traffic using another marketing method to get sign-ups for your email list. Email marketing can engage potential customers and reengage current customers for repeat purchases in the middle, and the bottom of your sales funnel to increase average order value and customer lifetime value.

salesfunnel with arrows

3. 3rd Party Websites Like Leafly and Weedmaps

Leafly and Weedmaps are websites with apps where you can list your dispensary and connect to consumers searching for a dispensary near them or cannabis products for sale. To list your website in their directory is free, but if you would like exposure to their audience, then plans start at $300 per month for Weedmaps and $600 per month for Leafly and go up to $4,000 per month or more.

Weedmaps and Leafly have delivery services that work through their app, where consumers can get weed delivered to their houses from a local dispensary like yours. The perks of Weedmaps and Leafly are they can get revenue in for your business immediately. The downside of Leafly and Weedmaps is that you need to know how to market your business and retain customers. Even more, advertising costs on Weedmaps and Leafly only go up year over year and can cut your profit margins if you rely solely on Weedmaps and Leafly for revenue.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do Dispensaries Advertise?

Dispensaries can advertise using several online and offline media platforms, including billboards, events, cannabis social media websites, media marketing, 3rd party directory websites/apps, SEO, email marketing, direct mail, and more ways of advertising cannabis.

Can You Advertise Dispensary on Facebook?

Facebook has strict regulations for advertising your dispensary on its platform. Paid advertising of a dispensary is not allowed on Facebook ads, but you can create a Facebook page or group with some strict limitations, and you are not allowed to run an ad. Since Meta owns Facebook and Instagram, you cannot advertise your dispensary on Instagram either.

Can You Advertise Delta 8 on Facebook?

No delta 8 THC is banned from cannabis ads on Facebook and Instagram.

What is the Facebook Drug Policy?

Meta does not allow advertisers to run ads promoting the sale of or use of recreational drugs, illegal or unsafe substances, products, or supplements.

What are Some Dispensary Advertising Ideas?

One of the best ways to advertise your dispensary without any restrictions, which delivers a near-infinite ROI, is SEO.