Standard Last Updated: March 26, 2018
Comments on the NACB Advertising Standard closed on June 8, 2018. The NACB’s members are currently revising the Advertising Standard, and plan to vote on its adoption in July 2018.
If you have a question or want to learn more about the NACB’s National Standards, please contact us at NationalStandards@nacb.com.
The NACB’s National Standards are developed through a deliberative and inclusive process. We take input from government, NACB Members, and subject matter experts into careful consideration in initially drafting the standard. We then work with those stakeholders to refine the standard before soliciting comments from the public. Every comment will be reviewed and considered by the NACB and may result in a revision of the standard. Following the review period, a new draft of the standard will be circulated to NACB Members for a final vote to approve and adopt it.
Non-compliance with the NACB Advertising Standard, as with all NACB National Standards, can result in expulsion from the NACB or other consequences.
(1) “Advertise” means the publication or dissemination of an Advertisement.
(2) “Advertisement” includes any written or verbal statement, illustration, or depiction which 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, except that such term shall not include:
A Cannabis Establishment shall not make or cause to be made an Advertisement that promotes excessive consumption of Cannabis or Cannabis Products or cannabis use disorder.
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 consuming 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 products.
A 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 disparaging or degrading the image, form, or status of any group based on ethnicity, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or 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 persons under 21 years of age.
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).
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.
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” refers to an age verification page or pop-up containing a data entry point that allows users to enter their age accurately, and that 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
marketing directed towards location-based devices, including but not limited to cellular phones, unless the marketing:
Digital marketing communications that are intended to be forwarded by users shall include instructions to individuals downloading the content that they should not forward these materials to individuals below the legal age of purchase.
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.
A Cannabis Establishment shall not place or cause to be placed any Advertisement for Cannabis or Cannabis Products on publicly owned property.
A Cannabis Establishment shall not place or cause to be placed an Advertisement on any public transit vehicle or shelter.
Cannabis Establishment shall not place or cause to be placed an Advertisement on a billboard or similar advertising device located on an Interstate Highway or on a State Highway that crosses the state border.
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 Cannabis Establishment has reliable evidence that no more than 15% percent of the audience at the event or viewing advertising in connection with the event is reasonably expected to be under the age of 21.
A Cannabis Establishment shall not offer gifts or prizes in exchange for proofs of purchase. This subsection does not prohibit price discounts based on customer loyalty programs.
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 persons under the age of 21.
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 under the age of 21.
Cannabis Establishments shall maintain clear and complete records of their advertising activities, 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 3.12 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 6 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.