Dispensary Advertising on Google

Dispensary Advertising on Google: Is Marketing on Google Ads Possible for Cannabis Ads?


Cannabis Advertising Tactics Proven to Sell Marijuana

Google has come a long way in allowing cannabis advertising. However, they are still nowhere near allowing dispensary advertising on their platform. In January, they will start running ads for some products made with CBD. Only as recently as January 20th, 2023, has Google begun to allow topical hemp-derived CBD ads and FDA-approved pharmaceutical hemp-derived CBD like Epidiolex with some restrictions. For instance, you can only advertise these in a google ads campaign targeted at those 18 years or older, where your products have been approved by LegitScript via a 3rd party certificate of analysis, and where the audience is located in California, Puerto Rico, and Colorado. Even more, advertising on Google seriously restricts the formats you can use. For instance, you cannot use MastHeads on YouTube in your Google’s advertising. 


Any other cannabis products like marijuana or CBD oil are banned from Google ads. Even if your dispensary website mentions the words cannabis, marijuana, or dispensary anywhere on the website, your Google ads account will be banned.  Social media companies like Facebook follow similar advertising policies for dispensaries.


What if I told you there was a completely legitimate legal way of advertising cannabis on Google without any restrictions?


What if I told you this is one of the only advertising methods not banned or restricted for advertising cannabis?


Now, what if I told you this is one of the best-proven marketing methods that delivers a near-infinite ROI while decreasing your advertising costs over time?

In today’s article, we are going to cover step by step exactly why Google ads are banned for advertising most cannabis products like marijuana. Then why does that not matter when you use one of the only dispensary marketing tactics that are not banned or restricted, which delivers the best ROI for dispensaries on Google.


Table of Contents

Is Dispensary Google Ads Possible?

How to Get Cannabis Ads Approved

How to Use SEO Marketing to Advertise Your Dispensary on Google Search

Related Marketing Questions

Is Dispensary Google Ads Possible?

Here is what the Google Advertising Policy has to say on dispensary Google ads, 

“We want to help keep people safe both online and offline, so we don’t allow the promotion of some products or services that cause damage, harm, or injury. Examples include recreational drugs (chemical or herbal) and psychoactive substances.” 

Science demonstrates cannabis, like CBD and marijuana, are psychoactive compounds even though CBD will not get you high. For this reason, Google does not allow ingestible CBD products to be advertised, and they do not allow an ingestible cannabis ad of any kind.

How to Get Cannabis Ads Approved

In some rare cases, there have been cannabis ads approved. However, these have only been approved for one of the following reasons:


  • Google works with a select group of invite-only advertisers they permit to run marijuana advertising.


  • These advertisers are using cloaking or other illegal tactics to conceal the true intent of their advertising.


  • Google has yet to catch on to the ad; once they do, the account will be permanently banned.


For the vast majority of situations, Google does not permit ads that promote the use or sale of cannabis. 

Why Google Ads Bans Marijuana and Cannabis from PPC?

Google is focused on protecting its brand and reputation, so they do not allow cannabis in the paid search results on its search engine. Even more, federal regulators in the USA have not yet made up their minds on the legality of cannabis, and Google is focused on staying compliant with federal laws. 

How to Use SEO Marketing to Advertise Your Dispensary on Google Search

Google’s paid search results policy prohibits advertising for ads that even contain the words cannabis anywhere in the ad.


Is this true for the organic search results on Google too?

No, the organic search results allow the direct sale and promotion of cannabis in the search results, and they make up 94% of all clicks on Google. The only way to gain exposure in the cannabis organic search results on Google is by using a proven process called search engine optimization or SEO digital marketing.


 Unlike paid advertising, where your costs increase yearly by 14% on average for search ads and 75% for display ads. When you invest in SEO marketing, your costs of advertising only decrease over time. Even when you stop investing in SEO marketing, all of the revenue and traffic you have earned continues for your cannabis business which creates the potential for a near-infinite ROI. Contrary to paid advertising, the moment you stop paying for advertising is when all revenue and traffic stops for your cannabis business. Learn more about developing a proven SEO marketing strategy below.

Paid Search Results

Paid Search Results

Organic Search Results

organic search results

Over 93% of cannabis consumers use online Google organic search results to find a cannabis business near them. The more your cannabis company shows up in the top 3 results when a cannabis consumer searches on Google, DuckDuckGo, or Bing, the more in-store foot traffic your cannabis store will receive. This is what our SEO agency focuses on when we work with dispensaries.

Examples of Cannabis Advertising in the Organic Search Results

Let’s say you own a cannabis company in Manhattan, New York City, New York. In that case, your potential cannabis customers may be searching “dispensary manhattan,” “manhattan dispensary,” or “NYC dispensary manhattan,” of which 1,100 people are searching every month. Depending on where you are located in Manhattan, your cannabis customers may get results that look like this:

Dispensary Manhattan Search Results

Cannabis companies that appear at the top are most likely to get in-store visits and calls from cannabis consumers searching on Google. On average, 88% of people who do a local search on Google, like “dispensary manhattan,” visit the cannabis company that same day. Then roughly 78% of those who visit purchase cannabis that same day. 


Cannabis companies ranking at the top in Manhattan NYC for keywords like “dispensary manhattan,” “manhattan dispensary,” and “NYC dispensary manhattan” receive 755 new customers every month from those three keywords alone. There are thousands of keywords your cannabis company could pursue. Even if you are located in a smaller city, there are still at least tens to hundreds of keywords that your cannabis company could pursue on Google.

What about a New Product Launch Ad?

Cannabis trends are very popular and constantly going in and out of fashion online. Social media marketing is restricted, and running Facebook ads or Instagram ads is banned.


Could you capitalize on trends using Google?

Yes, you could 100% capitalize on trends using Google! All that demand has to go somewhere, and most people search on Google to learn more and make purchases. For instance, the wedding cake strain has been a budding strain that is blowing up in usage lately. Showing up on Google when your ideal customers search “wedding cake strain for sale,” “wedding cake strain near me,” or “wedding cake strain for sale near me” can make more sales for you.

Related Marketing Questions

Are CBD Ads Allowed on Google?

The only CBD ads services allowed on Google in compliance with their policies are topical CBD ads and FDA-approved pharmaceutical CBD ads like Epidiolex. These ads services are only allowed in compliance with their hemp policies if you are verified by LegitScript via 3rd party certificate of analysis, targeting those who are 18 years or older, and exclusively running ads in California, Colorado, and Puerto Rico.

Can Dispensaries Advertise on Google?

If you run an ad on Google that even mentions the word “dispensary” in your ad, your ad will be taken down, and your ad account will be suspended.

Can You Advertise Delta 8 on Google?

If you run an ad for delta 8 that even mentions the word “delta 8” in your ad, your ad will be taken down, and your ad account will be suspended. One of the only ways to legitimately advertise cannabis online is by using SEO digital marketing; learn more below.