By Adam Schlett • Founder and CEO, Safe-Reach
Local Media Association R&D Partner 


I am starting this blog by formally stating I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice. 😊

Selling anything is hard; selling nuanced processes or products is even harder. Our job as marketers and sellers is to communicate concisely and effectively. I spend much of my day speaking to cannabis industry operators that know more about terpenes and strain genetics vs. MAIDS and pixels. Making the compliance process simple to understand and parrot back to their partners has been a key to the success of Safe-Reach over the past year.

If you are a marketer servicing a cannabis client, please feel free to use the information below to get some new clients. I would strongly urge you to check (and double-check) this simplified guide against your state and local guidelines – something we do regularly via the web and via our lawyers.

The Three Pillars of Compliance: Audience | Creative | Inventory

AUDIENCE: Validating that a certain percentage of your audience is 21+. Similar to LDA laws, most of the states that are currently operating with adult-use cannabis require that you advertise only to audiences where 30%-85% of the population is at least 21 years old. This means that run-of-network targeting for your digital buys is a big “no-no.” Using quality data sets to guide your targeting parameters, like age and home address, ensures you are operating well above your market’s required threshold for audience compliance.

CREATIVE: This is where we spend most of our time understanding nuances in different markets. There are some broad strokes that you can apply to any cannabis campaign in the U.S. today. Additionally, each market and state may have its own set of compliance copy. In California, it’s as simple as including a store’s license number in the creative. Alternatively, states like Washington or Massachusetts have lengthy sets of copy that must be visible in all creative assets. This can impact creative choices, so being familiar with these ahead of a campaign can help avoid frustrating creative edits.

INVENTORY: Serving ads on publishers who have opted in to hosting cannabis ads, and source audiences that are primarily 18+, is a good approach to inventory compliance. Running on networks that index age-gated cannabis or adult content will mitigate concerns for audience targeting. The desire to reach cannabis consumers — outside of cannabis or adult sites — is the niche we serve, and thereby have to layer in audience targeting to ensure compliant delivery.

Certain platforms may have additional compliance considerations you need to make in order to market a cannabis business. The above should be a good start in helping make sure you are growing your businesses effectively and compliantly.

Have questions about cannabis marketing? Hit me up anytime:

Learn more about Safe-Reach in our R&D member profile.