Cannabis regulators in New York are asking that TikTok put an end to the ban placed on advertising anything involving the word cannabis, as they promote public education on New York’s move to legalize the herb. The state’s Office of Cannabis Management sent a letter to the social media app’s executives urging them to amend the platform’s policy on advertisement for government entities so they could talk about cannabis in a public health and safety context freely.
Chris Alexander, the office’s executive director, also revealed that the office had launched a campaign to inform residents in the state about how they could safely use marijuana, where they could legally use it and who could purchase it.
Alexander stated that the office was airing advertisements from this campaign on billboards in the state, on broadcast television and on a number of social media platforms. He noted, however, that the office was not allowed to air the advertisements on TikTok. He explained that the cannabis management office hopes that it could be permitted to run public health campaigns on cannabis, which are similar to the ads run by the state’s Department of Health on this particular platform. He added that TikTok was a valuable asset when it came to advertising because the application has more than a billion users.
Over 70% of TikTok users are aged between 18 and 34, which may assist regulators in straightening out any misinformation on who is allowed to purchase or possess cannabis when retailers launch their businesses later in the year. Currently, individuals aged 21 and above will be allowed to use, possess and purchase marijuana under the state’s legal adult-use market.
Allowing cannabis regulators to run ads on the platform would offer information to underage individuals on the effects of cannabis use at a young age while also delivering the message that it’s both illegal and unsafe to drive while impaired by marijuana.
The relationship between cannabis regulators, influencers and businesses and social media companies has been inconsistent and complicated amid the movement to legalize the herb. For instance, advocacy groups, state-legal marijuana businesses and government entities such as the California Bureau of Cannabis Control have accused Facebook of shadow banning them, which prevents their profile pages from coming up during a search.
This same issue has also been highlighted on Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, with some individuals revealing that their accounts were deleted on the application over cannabis-related content.
The continued ban of cannabis advertising by these platforms in state-legal markets denies duly licensed ancillary companies such as Advanced Container Technologies Inc. (OTC: ACTX) from accessing a large pool of their potential clients who are active on those social media platforms.
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