NACB Releases National Standards for Cannabis Advertising

December 13, 2018 

Cannabis Adverstising

The National Association of Cannabis Businesses (“NACB”) has released its national standards for cannabis advertising. The NACB is a self-regulating organization, built to “demonstrate its commitment to operating at high levels of ethics and responsibility.” The NACB believes that greater cannabis industry transparency and self -regulation will build trust and may head off onerous state and federal legislation.

What are the key elements of the cannabis advertising standards?

Cannabis Advertising Best Practices 

The cannabis advertising standards define advertisement as “any written or verbal statement, illustration, or depiction that is calculated to induce sales of Cannabis or Cannabis Products, including any written, printed, graphic, or other material, billboard, sign, or other outdoor display, other periodical literature, publication, or in a radio or television broadcast, or in any other media.” Some of the key provisions of the cannabis advertising standards include:

  • All cannabis advertising must include the following statements: 1) that the cannabis products are only for adults (as required by state law); 2) that cannabis products for medical use are only allowed for authorized patients; 3) a warning that there may be health risks associated with consumption; and 4) a warning that there are additional health risks for women who are pregnant or breast feeding;
  • Advertising cannot include false or misleading statements;
  • Advertising may not depict a person who is inhaling, exhaling, or ingesting cannabis products (certain cannabis products, such as lotions and salves, are excluded from this requirement);
  • Advertising may not disparage any group based on ethnicity, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, minority or other status;
  • Advertising may not target consumers outside of licensed states;
  • Minors cannot make up more than 15 percent of the audience composition for television, print, radio or Internet advertising;
  • All digital cannabis advertising must provide a neutral age-screening mechanism. Having a text-box for a user to enter his/her birthdate before accessing the website is considered a neutral age-screening mechanism that will satisfy this requirement; and
  • Advertising may not be featured on any public transit vehicle or shelter. 

Complying with Cannabis Advertising Standards 

Please note that NACB is a private, member-based industry association. As such, while NACB standards are not legal requirements, they are industry best practices that should be followed by all in the industry. NACB members that do not follow the standards face expulsion. Presently, states and social media platforms, like Facebook, have their own cannabis advertising laws and policies, respectively, that must also be complied with.

Cannabis-related businesses should consult with an experienced marketing attorney before commencing any cannabis advertising campaign. If you are interested in learning more about this topic or need to review your cannabis advertising practices and marketing creative, please e-mail us at or call us at (212) 246-0900.

The material contained herein is provided for informational purposes only and is not legal advice, nor is it a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney. Each situation is unique, and you should not act or rely on any information contained herein without seeking the advice of an experienced attorney.

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David Klein

David Klein is one of the most recognized attorneys in the technology, Internet marketing, sweepstakes, and telecommunications fields. Skilled at counseling clients on a broad range of technology-related matters, David Klein has substantial experience in negotiating and drafting complex licensing, marketing and Internet agreements.

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