Why Does Social Media Still Ban Cannabis?

By Terry Hacienda, The Fresh Toast on

Published in Cannabis Daily

While it may seem tempting to blast sales promotions and your new products online, stop. You can get red flagged or even have your account deactivated.

Anyone who handles the marketing or social media side for a cannabis business can tell you that social media is a huge pain in the @$$.

With ever-changing regulations and “Community Guidelines”, hemp and cannabis companies struggle with marketing. Advertising online is like walking on eggshells, you just never know when you’re going to get a shadow ban, which is when TikTok, Instagram, or Facebook suddenly hides your posts or restricts them from followers which you worked so hard to get organically.

Once your brand has been shadow banned, this leads to a significantly reduced interaction and reach. Worst of all, companies aren’t warned or given any formal notifications when they are shadow banned. In some cases, posts can even be deleted if the social media giants suddenly decide that they go against community guidelines.

And even worst of all, you can have your account deleted permanently if all these happen multiple times. Months, years even, of hard work online can all be wiped out without you knowing it.

But all of these risks haven’t stopped hemp and cannabis businesses from using these platforms to find their new customers, so even if Facebook and other social media giants don’t allow ads for cannabis products, they do hacks to work around the bans.


Here’s what you need to know about the big 3 platforms to work around the bans:

Facebook: There is a differentiation between prohibited and restricted content, but for cannabis businesses, Facebook strictly prohibits the promotion of any drug or related products even if it’s a legal or recreational drug. For this reason, text and images can’t be included in ads. Federal restrictions also mean that cannabis companies can’t run ads including in states where the drug is legal. When you fail to comply with the advertising guidelines on Facebook, your ads will not only get shut down but you can face the risk of your account getting deleted.

Twitter: Twitter states that “illegal drugs, recreational and herbal drugs, accessories associated with drug use, drug dispensaries, and depictions of hard drug use” are prohibited in its advertising policies under the Drugs and Drug Paraphernalia section.

Instagram: Since Facebook acquired Instagram in 2012, they apply the same kind of restrictive advertising policies which say, in many words, that there is no kind of advertising allowed for cannabis companies on the platform.


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