Facebook Stops Blocking Cannabis Pages in Search Results

Girl making circles around eyes with hands. Cannabis marketing on Facebook. Cannabis marketing services. Marijuana marketing agency.

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New policies for cannabis marketing on Facebook is super great news for the marijuana and cannabis industry. In particular, for cannabis companies who are asking can marijuana dispensaries advertise on Facebook? We’ll no advertising allowed yet but Facebook will now allow for cannabis-related business pages to show up in their search results!

Cannabis Marketing on Facebook Just Got Legit Verified!

Facebook finally allows for cannabis business pages, and related marijuana businesses to show up in search results on its platform. This is big news for the cannabis industry and for cannabis social media marketers in Canada.

As of Thursday, October 11, 2018, less than a week ahead of the legalization of marijuana in Canada, Facebook made it easier, not to mention, fairer, for cannabis companies to maintain their pages, content, and organic followers.

Prior to this, many cannabis companies had to deal with their content being deleted from Facebook as well as other social media platforms like YouTube and Instagram.

Times are certainly changing! If you own or operate a marijuana dispensary, are a licensed producer, or other cannabis business or related verticle, its game on for your Facebook social media content.

Moving forward you’ll be able to post photos of your buds, marijuana plants, edibles, and cannabis accessories without fear of having your content removed or being banned from FB. But why did Facebook ban cannabis pages in the first place?

Keep out sign. Why Facebook blocked cannabis content and cannabis pages.

Why Facebook Blocked Your Marijuana Content & Your Cannabis Page

Recently, Facebook users weren’t even able to search for groups that did not sell cannabis, such as non-profit advocacy group the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), or even, ironically, the anti-cannabis legalization group, Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM).

In Canada, before October 11, users were not able to find Facebook pages for government entities such as the Ontario Cannabis Store — the online shop run by the government of Ontario — via a search on the site, according to tests run by MarketWatch in the U.S. and Canada.

So why did Facebook block cannabis pages? MarketWatch reports that Facebook blocked marijuana and cannabis pages in order to ban its users from selling weed on the platform, which is a violation of its terms of use.

But now, Facebook’s global community will now be able to search and locate cannabis-related pages when using the search feature.

Facebook spokeswoman Sarah Pollack told Forbes:

“This is a change in our tactics when it comes to what is discoverable when using Facebook Search. Our Community Standards make it very clear that buying, selling or trading non-medical, pharmaceutical drugs, or marijuana is not allowed on Facebook. People largely find this content that violates our policies by searching for it, so we have made it harder for people to find content that facilitates the sale of drugs on our site. We also look to make content that does not violate our policies discoverable in Search. We use a combination of the latest technology in search ranking and our team of reviewers who work 24/7 to minimize the opportunity for illicit drug sales. We’re constantly auditing and improving this process in order to do better.”

Facebook thumbs up like image. Cannabis marketing on Facebook. Facebook allows cannabis pages in search results.

Facebook’s Reason For Allowing Cannabis Business Pages

Medical Marijuana has been legal in Canada since 2008. Recreational cannabis just became legal in Canada on October 17, 2018. In the United States, recreational cannabis is legal in nine states and medical marijuana is legal in 30 states.

It seems like Facebook’s policy change reflects the reality of the world today. More countries around the world are legalizing medical cannabis, and are seriously considering cannabis for recreational use by adults.

For example, In 2014, there were only four countries worldwide that were looking into legal cannabis frameworks. By 2018 there were more than 25 countries worldwide that were looking into legalization or medical and recreational cannabis.

“It’s about time that Facebook caught up with the majority of Americans who think that marijuana should be treated as a legal product,” said Mason Tvert, a spokesman for the nonprofit advocacy group Marijuana Policy Project. “A growing majority of Americans think that marijuana should be legal, and a growing number of countries and states are making it legal. I think it’s a great development and a wise move by Facebook as it’s trying to reconnect with the online community that it has turned off in so many ways.”

Phpne screen with Instagram app icon. Cannabis marketing on Instagram. Facebook marketing for cannabis pages.

Are Cannabis Instagram Profiles Next?

It’s important to note that this lifting of the ban on cannabis and marijuana-related pages on Facebook only applies for Facebook, not Instagram.

Instagram does allow for marijuana and cannabis related content to be published on its platform as long as it is not directly selling to or sourcing for clients. However, the risk of being blocked or having content removed still exists for cannabis companies.

Stephanie Noon, brand communication specialist for Instagram says:

“Instagram does not allow content that promotes the sale of marijuana regardless of state or country. Our policy prohibits any marijuana seller, including dispensaries, from promoting their business by providing contact information like phone numbers, web addresses or street addresses. We do allow marijuana advocacy content as long as it is not promoting the sale of the drug. Dispensaries can promote the use and federal legalization of marijuana provided that they do not also promote its sale or provide contact information to their store.”

But unfortunately, even with such clear statements from the company, accounts still get targeted and later shut down “erroneously”.

Cell phone with social media graphic on screen. Facebook marketing for cannabis businesses. Cannabis marketing agency.

Facebook’s New Policy For Cannabis Businesses

It’s still illegal to promote the sale of cannabis on facebook and other social media platforms but this news is great news for cannabis businesses and cannabis marketing strategy.

For example, this new Facebook cannabis policy allows your marijuana business to:

  • Create FB Events using the word “cannabis” or a related term.
  • Publish FB organic Posts while using terms like marijuana, weed, and cannabis.
  • Create a business page name with the word cannabis, or a form of it.
  • Cannabis companies can now have verified pages.

You can now do all the above, and possibly more, to market your cannabis products and services on Facebook.

Cell phone with facebook screen. Facebook policy for cannabis marketing.

How To Advertise Cannabis on Facebook

Yes, it actually has been done. More than once. Our agency, ColaDigital.ca, is an experienced cannabis marketing agency dedicated to the marketing and promotion of marijuana and cannabis-related products and services.

We’ve been able to maintain a cannabis industry client’s Facebook business page and run hyper-targeted Facebook advertising campaigns while using cannabis imagery and term “cannabis” in our ad copy.

Our client, the Canadian Greenhouse Conference hired our digital marketing team to advertise their conference in 2017 and 2018. The goal was to increase conference registrations.

In 2017 we exceeded expectations and increased the tradeshow’s registrations and attendance by 25%. They hired us again for the 2018 conference and final numbers aren’t in but client sources say we could see a double-digit increase in tradeshow attendance for 2018 as well.

To learn more about this please view the case study here.

Marijuana Dispensary Marketing & Cannabis Product Marketing

If you work for a company in the medical cannabis and recreational marijuana space, we want to talk to you!

ColaDigital is Canada’s most experienced digital marketing agency dedicated to marketing recreational marijuana and medical cannabis. We partner with marijuana companies who share our vision of destigmatizing cannabis and breaking new ground in this dynamic industry.

Our team has been involved in the social and digital marketing space since 2004, we believe our experience speaks for itself. We’ve served over 100 clients in a wide variety of B2B and B2C sectors, including some companies in the medical cannabis space. We know what works and what doesn’t.

If you have questions or are ready to work with us, please contact us or reach out using the contact form below.

We’re ready to help you grow!