Facebook’s notoriously strict anti-cannabis policy was recently relaxed, but only enough to allow advertisements for non-psychoactive hemp CBD products that can be applied topically. Ads for oral and inhalable forms of CBD remain banned.
First reported by Digiday, the updated marijuana rules on the world’s largest social network will allow promotions for creams, patches, and lotions containing hemp-derived CBD, but will still ban all other advertisements for products containing CBD or THC, even if they are legal in certain states or by federal law. In the past, Facebook has made it a point to ban or remove any ad containing anything close to marijuana, including CBD topicals.
“A lot of these companies are selling hemp-derived [CBD], and primarily they’re selling creams, rubs, patches, but Facebook had been staying completely away from it,” said Andrew Hemmingway, president of Toasted Collective, a cannabis-focused digital ad agency, to Digiday.
In a statement concerning the adjusted CBD advertising policy, a Facebook spokesperson said that the site’s advertising regulations were focused on consumable CBD as opposed to topical CBD, and that the company has been quietly allowing ads for non-ingestible hemp products online for months.
“Our policy remains the same: We don’t allow people to promote CBD or ingestible hemp on Facebook,” the spokesperson said. “The update to non-ingestible hemp was made months ago.”
But as Facebook’s rules allow special CBD exceptions to its cannabis advertising ban, and even with artificial intelligence that Zuckerberg’s company claims can distinguish bud from broccoli, Facebook does not have the best track record for flagging and removing only ads that breach their terms of service. And it is yet to be seen if the site’s regulators will be able to successfully allow CBD topical ads while banning similar ingestible products.
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