While recreational marijuana is legal in Canada, South Africa, Uruguay, and some parts of the United States — as a regulated substance, advertising and marketing is not as straight-forward as other products.
Even CBD advertising, which is broadly legal and available in the United States, has special regulations, especially when it comes to health claims.
Because of this, some traditional advertising methods and networks are not available to cannabis business. So, I’ve put together this list of cannabis advertising networks and marketing resources. (please get in touch if I’ve missed one!)
I’ve divided the page into display, native, and affiliate networks, though there is some overlap between these categories.
Update Sept 2020: I am currently running native ads with a few of the following networks and tracking results. Bookmark this page, and check in for updates!
Native Advertising Networks
Native advertising means the ads blend into the user experience. This is accomplished in all sorts ways varying between elegant and annoying. Most often you’ll see ads blended in as “related articles” or infographics with a style that matches the website they are featured on.
Here are the top cannabis-friendly native ad networks:
Mantis Ad Network – Mantis is a cannabis-specific ad network. Self-serve display, mobile, native, video, and re-targeted ad campaigns available. Publishing partners include the Food Network, Leafly, and WikiLeaf.
Minimum first deposit is $500.
Out of any native ad service, this seems like the most advanced & non-spammy. I am currently giving them a trial run, and will report my findings in this full review as my campaigns play out.
Outbrain.com – Outbrain is the biggest native advertising network, and allows promotion of CBD products and cannabis-related investments or stocks in a variety of formats.
I am currently giving them a try and find the interface buggy. My screen jumps around so I’ve given up on “getting started quick”, and am researching outbrain preparing a few campaigns, and might reach out to one of their reps for advice to make sure I am within their advertiser guidelines.
Taboola – You are sure to have seen Taboola ads before. You may also like…accompanied by stock photos and click-baity headlines. CBD and cannabis is not on their list of prohibited content, though I’d recommend checking in with them before starting a campaign to be sure.
I am currently setting up a campaign with Taboola, and will see how it goes.
Cannabis Display Advertising Networks
Display advertising is most often banners, videos, modal windows, etc. generally bought on a CPM or CPC basis. Sometimes display & native advertising are inter-changeable terms.
The following display networks accept CBD and cannabis-related advertisers:
Puff Network – Helps connect cannabis-related brands with premium content publishers such as Skunk and HighTimes. $500 minimum monthly spend.
Traffic Roots – Cannabis and CBD display, banner, video and native advertising options. $500 monthly spend. I am considering starting a test campaign after getting CPC data from a few native ad campaigns, and then will report findings and comparison here.
Mantis Ad Network – Cannabis ad network. Self-serve display, mobile, video, and re-targeted ad campaigns available. $500 minimum to start.
HealthyAds – Accepts all types of CBD Advertising across their network of health websites offering programmatic & highly targeted campaigns.
Cannabis Affiliate Advertising Networks
Affiliate adverting networks connect advertisers (merchants) to publishers (affiliates) through a common platform. Instead of paying for clicks or impressions (CPC or CPM), you pay publishers commissions on sales or leads (CPC or CPL).
The following affiliate networks accept CBD and cannabis-related advertisers:
ShareaSale.com – ShareaSale is one of the largest, longest running, and most reputable affiliate networks, CBD and cannabis accessories (like vapes, papers, etc).
CannAffiliate – Cannabis-only affiliate network with that accepts a variety of legal cannabis merchants including dispensaries & delivery services, CBD brands, vaporizers and accessories.
CBDAffs – CBD-only affiliate advertising network with thousands of affiliate partners and about 50 merchants.
CJ.com (aka commission junction) huge affiliate network with some of the biggest brands across a range of industries, and allow CBD and some cannabis accessories advertisers.
Clickbank – Clickbank is another longtime affiliate network that has allows cannabis-related information products and CBD brand advertisers.
Impact – Huge network of advertisers and publishers that allows some CBD and cannabis accessory products.
Other Cannabis Advertising Networks
Advertising networks and platforms for cannabis that don’t fit neatly into one of the other categories, but are still worth looking into:
Adistry – Is a unique platform that allows cannabis brands to search, compare, and purchase advertising & sponsorships from hundreds of publishers & influencers. Though, not a cannabis-specific network, it is one of their specialties.
Which Networks Specialize in Cannabis Advertisers?
Although all the networks listed above accept cannabis-related advertisers, the follow networks only work in the cannabis niche.
Mantis Ad Network – Self-serve display, native, and video ad options. Re-targeted ad campaigns available. $500 minimum to start.
CannAffiliate – Affiliate network (cost-per-sale / lead) specializing in legal cannabis merchants including dispensaries & delivery services.
CBDAffs – Large, CBD-only affiliate network (cost-per-sale / lead) with thousands of publishers.
What are the restrictions on cannabis and CBD advertising?
The United States and Canada actually have broadly similar rules. Generally these include:
- No showing consumption of the product.
- No showing the cannabis products without an age verification.
- No health / medical claims.
- No advertising to minors.
However, laws vary from country to country, state to state — and regulated & enforced by the FTC and FDA in the United States. In Canada, there is very little room for branding as even cartoon characters or celebrity endorsements are strictly forbidden consult the Cannabis Act for the details.
Also see our illustrated guide to Cannabis Advertising in Canada.
Have a suggestion for an advertising network I’ve left out of this list? Let me know in the comments below or get in touch through twitter @thcaffiliates Thanks!