ARTICLE 3

Advertising Standards

Adoption Date: November 5th, 2018

Definitions

(1)   “Advertise” means the publication or dissemination of an Advertisement.

(2)  “Advertisement” includes any written or verbal statement, illustration, or depiction that is calculated to induce sales of Cannabis or Cannabis Products, including any written, printed, graphic, or other material, billboard, sign, or other outdoor display, other periodical literature, publication, or in a radio or television broadcast, or in any other media. The term does not include:

  1. any label affixed to any Cannabis or Cannabis Product, or any individual covering, carton, or other wrapper of that container that constitutes a part of the labeling under provisions of these Standards;
  2. any editorial or other reading material, such as a news release, in any periodical or publication or newspaper for the publication of which no money or valuable consideration is paid or promised, directly or indirectly, by any Cannabis Establishment, and which is not written by or at the direction of the licensee;
  3. any educational, instructional, or otherwise non-commercial material that is not intended to induce sales and that does not propose an economic transaction, but which merely provides information to the public in an unbiased manner;
  4. a sign attached to the premises of a Cannabis Establishment that merely identifies the location of the Cannabis Establishment; or
  5. identification of a Cannabis Establishment as the sponsor of a charity or public good, including but not limited to an Adopt-A-Highway program.

(3)  “Underage” means under the minimum age required by a state’s cannabis laws (usually either 18 or 21 years of age) for undertaking a cannabis-related activity.

Standard 3.01. Signage for Cannabis Establishments.

If a Cannabis Establishment’s sign identifying its premises contains content, such as graphics and logos, aside from its business or trade name and location, the additional content shall conform to the requirements in this Article.

Standard 3.02. Required Statements.
  • All Advertising for Cannabis or Cannabis Products shall accurately and legibly identify the licensee responsible for its content.
  • All Advertisements shall include, in substance, the following statements:

    • for retail Cannabis or Cannabis Products, that the product is for use only by adults who are not underage;
    • for medical Cannabis or Cannabis Products, that the product is for use only by authorized patients
    • a warning that there may be health risks associated with consumption of the Cannabis or Cannabis Product; and
    • a warning that:

      • there may be additional health risks associated with consumption of the Cannabis or Cannabis Product for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding; or
      • scientific research has not yet established the safety of the use of cannabis by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • An Advertisement may describe an intended physical or psychological effect of Cannabis or a Cannabis Product only if such statements:

    • comply with the requirements of Packaging and Labeling Standard 2.16;
    • include a warning that the effects of the Cannabis or Cannabis Product may vary by consumer; and
    • include a warning that the claim has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Standard 3.03. False or Misleading Statements Prohibited.
  • A Cannabis Establishment shall not make or cause to be made an Advertisement that is false or misleading or that contains false or misleading statements.
  • A Cannabis Establishment shall not make or cause to be made an Advertisement that contains health, medical, or disease claims about Cannabis or a Cannabis Product that do not conform with Packaging and Labeling Standard 2.16.
Standard 3.04. Prohibited Content.
  • A Cannabis Establishment shall not make or cause to be made an Advertisement that promotes excessive consumption of Cannabis or Cannabis Products.
  • A Cannabis Establishment shall not make or cause to be made an Advertisement that represents that Cannabis or a Cannabis Product is safe because it is regulated by a State Licensing Authority or because it has been tested by a Cannabis Testing Facility.  This subsection does not prohibit a Cannabis Establishment from advertising the fact that the Cannabis Establishment is licensed or that its products are tested.
  • A Cannabis Establishment licensed in a state that permits only medicinal use of Cannabis or Cannabis Products shall not make or cause to be made an Advertisement that promotes or encourages non-medicinal use.
  • A Cannabis Establishment shall not make or cause to be made an Advertisement depicting any person inhaling, exhaling, or ingesting Cannabis or Cannabis Products. This subsection does not prohibit depictions of the external use or application of topical Cannabis Products, such as lotions, salves, and transdermal productsA Cannabis Establishment shall not make or cause to be made an Advertisement intended to encourage underage persons consume Cannabis or Cannabis Products.
  • A Cannabis Establishment shall not make or cause to be made an Advertisement intended to encourage underage persons to consume Cannabis or Cannabis Products.
  • A Cannabis Establishment shall not make or cause to be made an Advertisement disparaging or degrading the image, form, or status of any group based on ethnicity, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, minority, or other status.
  • A Cannabis Establishment shall not make or cause to be made an Advertisement that includes a cartoon character, toy, mascot, brand sponsorship, logo, animal, celebrity endorsement, or any other depiction that targets an underage person or is commonly used to market products to underage persons. For clarity, this subsection does not prohibit endorsements that do not target underage persons.
  • A Cannabis Establishment shall not make or cause to be made an Advertisement that portrays, encourages, or condones driving any motor vehicle while impaired.
  • A Cannabis Establishment shall not engage in advertising that encourages persons to transport Cannabis or Cannabis Products across state lines.
Standard 3.05. Logos.
  • If the state in which a Cannabis Establishment conducts business has specific requirements regarding logos, the Cannabis Establishment shall comply with the state law.
  • If the state in which a Cannabis Establishment conducts business does not have specific requirements regarding logos, a Cannabis Establishment’s logo shall conform to the requirements in this Article, including Standards 3.03 (False or Misleading Statements) and 3.04 (Prohibited Content).
Standard 3.06. Audience Composition.
  • A Cannabis Establishment shall not publish or otherwise disseminate an Advertisement via television, print, radio, the internet, or an event unless it is reasonably expected that no more than 15% percent of the audience is under 21 years of age. An Advertisement in any media that is intended to be distributed only in a location to which persons under 21 years of age are denied entry meets the requirements of this section.
  • Any advertising or marketing involving direct, individualized communication or dialogue controlled by the Cannabis Establishment shall utilize a method of age affirmation to verify that the recipient is not underage before engaging in that communication or dialogue.
  • A Cannabis Establishment shall not engage in advertising that specifically targets persons located outside the licensing state.
Standard 3.07. Digital Advertising.
  • A Cannabis Establishment that advertises via web page must ensure that individuals visiting the web page are not underage by employing a neutral age-screening mechanism before allowing users to access the website. In this subsection, a “neutral age-screening mechanism” means an age verification page or pop-up that:

    • contains a data-entry point that allows users to enter their age accurately; and
    • restricts or permits access accordingly.
  • A Cannabis Establishment may not engage in advertising or digital marketing:

    • via unsolicited pop-up Advertisements on the internet; or
    • that is directed towards location-based devices, including but not limited to cellular phones, unless the advertising or marketing:

      • is a mobile device application installed on the device by the owner of the device who is not underage; and
      • includes a permanent and easy opt-out feature
  • Digital Advertisements that are intended to be forwarded by users shall include instructions to individuals downloading the content that they should not forward these materials to underage persons.

  • When using social media, a Cannabis Establishment shall conform to the requirements in this Article, including Standards 3.03 (False or Misleading Statements) and 3.04 (Prohibited Content).

Notes, Standard 3.07: Simply including a check box stating, “I am over 21 years old” would not be considered a neutral age-screening mechanism, and thus would not comply with Subsection (a) of this Standard. Conversely, a text box or drop-down allowing entry of the user’s full birth date would suffice.

Standard 3.08. Prohibited Advertisement Placement.

A Cannabis Establishment shall not place or cause to be placed an Advertisement on any public transit vehicle or shelter.

Standard 3.09. Event Sponsorship.
  • A Cannabis Establishment may sponsor a charitable, sports, music, or similar event, but a Cannabis Establishment shall not engage in advertising at, or in connection with, such an event unless:

    • the event is not targeted at underage persons; and
    • the Cannabis Establishment has reliable evidence that no more than 30% percent of the audience at the event or viewing advertising in connection with the event is reasonably expected to be underage.
Standard 3.10. Promotional Gifts.

A Cannabis Establishment shall not offer gifts or prizes in exchange for proofs of purchase. This Standard does not prohibit price discounts or gifts based on loyalty programs in which a customer has enrolled, provided such programs conform with the laws of the state in which the Cannabis Establishment conducts business.

Standard 3.11. Cannabis-Branded Merchandise.
  • If the state in which a Cannabis Establishment conducts business does not prohibit Cannabis Establishments from creating or disseminating promotional cannabis-branded merchandise or materials, the Cannabis Establishment may create or disseminate such merchandise or materials, so long as such merchandise or materials conform to the other requirements of this Article.
  • A Cannabis Establishment shall not offer, give, or sell branded merchandise or materials to underage persons.
Standard 3.12. Product Placement in Entertainment Media.

A Cannabis Establishment shall not directly or indirectly, through payment or other consideration given, promote the use of Cannabis or Cannabis Products in movies, TV shows, live performances, commercial films and videos, or video games, unless the Cannabis Establishment has reliable evidence that no more than 15% percent of the audience is reasonably expected to be underage.

Standard 3.13. Documentation of Advertising.

Cannabis Establishments shall maintain clear and complete records of their advertising activities, Advertisements, expenditures, and audience composition data for a period of no less than two years from the placement of the Advertisement.

Notes, Standard 3.13: In the case of a billboard or similar Advertisement that is widely visible to the public, the term “placement” in Standard 3.13 shall be construed to mean any day on which such Advertisement was publicly visible. Thus, if a business were to place an Advertisement on a billboard for a period of one year, the two-year period would run from the last day on which the Advertisement appeared on the billboard. In other instances (e.g., publication in a periodical), the two-year period shall run from the day on which the medium containing the Advertisement was first disseminated.

Standard 3.14. Effective Date.
  • Except as provided by Subsection (b) of this Standard, a Cannabis Establishment shall comply with the requirements of this Article beginning on the 90th day after the date this Article is finally adopted by the National Association of Cannabis Businesses.
  • If, before the date described by Subsection (a), a Cannabis Establishment contracts for or otherwise purchases advertising for publication or dissemination after the date described by Subsection (a), that advertising is not required to comply with the requirements of this Article, provided the advertising complies with any applicable local, state, or federal laws.