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Google Eases Ban On CBD Advertisements

A.J. Herrington

By A.J. Herrington

December 27, 2022

Close up of buds in plastic bag and lighter lying on the couch. Man using laptop in the background. Cannabis and weed legalization concept. Selective focus. Horizontal shot

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Google will ease restrictions on advertising for products containing

beginning next month, according to a recent announcement from the internet powerhouse. The new pilot policy to allow CBD advertisements will only apply in two states and one U.S. territory; however, leaving hemp industry insiders calling for more comprehensive change.

Beginning on January 20, 2023, Google’s ad policies for dangerous products and services and healthcare and medicines “will be updated to allow for the promotion of FDA-approved pharmaceuticals containing cannabidiol (CBD) and topical, hemp-derived CBD products with THC content of 0.3% or less in California, Colorado, and Puerto Rico,” the company revealed in an

posted last week. The ads will be restricted to users older than 18 years old, the company said.

Google did not explain why the change in policy will only apply to the three specified markets. Under the 2018 Farm Bill passed by Congress, hemp-derived CBD is legal in all 50 states. The pilot program is not comprehensive, with ads for CBD products still banned from some of Google’s advertising opportunities.

“Certain formats, including YouTube Masthead, will not be eligible for serving,” the company wrote. “CBD will be removed from the Unapproved Pharmaceuticals and Supplements list. All ads promoting other CBD-based products, including supplements, food additives, and inhalants, continue to be disallowed.”

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CBD Advertisements: Products Must Be Certified

A company known as LegitScript will work with Google to certify topical cannabis products eligible to be advertised on its platforms. Applications to determine eligibility can be submitted “immediately,” the company said. Oral or inhalable CBD products are not included in the limited advertising pilot, however. LegitScript will not certify FDA-approved pharmaceuticals containing CBD.

“In the United States, only topical CBD products that have been certified by LegitScript can be promoted on Google,” the company wrote. “Certification will require that products sought to be advertised: (1) provide samples of their product to test for compliance with legal THC limits; and (2) provide LegitScript a third-party Certificate of Analysis.”

“When people see the LegitScript seal on your product or website, they know that you operate safely and transparently,” LegitScript CEO Scott Roth said in a

about the deal with Google. “In an industry that is still seeing widespread problems with products that are tainted, substandard, or illegal, it’s more important than ever to give consumers confidence that the CBD products they’re purchasing have been properly vetted.”

Google’s decision to ease its restrictions on CBD advertisements is receiving mixed reviews from companies in the cannabis industry. Lisa Buffo, founder and chief executive of the Cannabis Marketing Association, said the change is a positive move for the industry.

“Google’s decision to open the door for some CBD products to advertise is a step in the right direction,”

the Wall Street Journal. “The opportunity for businesses to connect with their customers, where they are, is long overdue.”

Some executives feel that Google’s pilot program to relax restrictions on CBD advertising does not go far enough, however. Under federal law, all hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3% THC, the compound largely responsible for the “high” associated with marijuana, are legal nationwide.

“Allowing all businesses to advertise their lawful products would provide the potential for increased revenue and exposure to customers who may be looking for reputable products but do not know where to turn,” said Dafna Revah, vice president of CBD Kratom, a national CBD and cannabis-product retailer.

A Google spokesperson said that the new advertising pilot program is a reaction to the widespread availability of CBD products in U.S. markets. But the company also recently reported its fifth consecutive quarter of

, including the first reported drop in advertising revenue from the popular online video platform YouTube.

A.J. Herrington

About The Author

A.J. Herrington

HIGH THERE MISSION

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