In the video above, Tatango CEO Derek Johnson answers the question, “Can I promote marijuana using SMS marketing?” Prefer to read instead? No problem. Please see the post below. You can also find answers to all your SMS marketing questions in our Q&A video library.
Can I Advertise Marijuana Using SMS Marketing?
With the current state of marijuana legalization across the US, Tatango receives lots of questions regarding the use of SMS marketing to promote marijuana brands and retailers. At this time, marijuana is still illegal at the federal level. Since wireless carriers regulate wireless communications in the US, they comply with federal regulations. This means SMS marketing can’t be used to promote marijuana-related products and brands. If a brand tries to use SMS marketing to promote marijuana, wireless carriers will most likely shut down the campaign because it violates their terms of service.
Update – May 24, 2020
Tatango would like to restate the US carrier policy regarding illegal and illicit content as categorized under federal law. To clarify, marketing and promotion of marijuana or cannabis is not permitted as it falls under illegal and illicit content. Until the federal law governing these products states otherwise, it is a Severity 0 violation if traffic is found to be running content tied to marijuana on any US sender, US short code, toll-free number, and long code. Wireless carriers will block the campaign immediately if found in violation.
Below is an example of a marijuana program that would be blocked immediately by the wireless carriers.
The wireless carriers have eased their stance on using SMS marketing to advertise CBD products. That said, it’s only permitted if the CBD products are made from hemp and contain no marijuana or THC. Also, it’s important to note that the wireless carriers will not approve a text messaging campaign, even if it’s only selling CBD products (without THC), if they’re claiming that their CBD products produce any kind of “high” for the user.
Below is an example of a CBD program from notpot.com that would be approved by the wireless carriers.
Below is an example of a message from Not Pot that complies with the wireless carriers.
Marijuana Text Message Marketing in Canada
As of March 1, 2019, marijuana text message marketing is approved in Canada.
Last year, Canada legalized the use of marijuana federally, and the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) has now stated that it’s okay to send marijuana promotions and notifications via SMS short codes.
With the current approval, there are still some stipulations, such as age verification requirements. Before launching a marijuana-related SMS campaign in Canada, check with your SMS provider to make sure you comply with the existing stipulations.
Also keep in mind that this new approval only applies to Canada, not to the US. Sending cannabis-related text message promotions and notifications is still not allowed in the US.
You can find more info about this announcement in the video below.