State-by-State Guide to Cannabis Advertising Regulations

By: Guest
June 11 2019

It is crucial that one knows and understands the advertising rules for cannabis

The cannabis industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in the Northern United States. The classification of cannabis as a schedule 1 drug and therefore its illegal status at the federal level may pose a challenge. A maze of new and specific laws that vary state-by-state means that people seeking to advertise cannabis are facing challenges and barriers perhaps more so than any industry now.


Advertising recreational cannabis in the United States means reading through the differences in the legal framework for each state. Failure to comply with advertising laws can lead to disastrous consequences such as a loss of a license to sell or even criminal charges.  The cursory discussion below is in no way a substitute for your own detailed research ans guidance from a lawyer familiar with your state’s cannabis laws.


Retail stores that sell marijuana should have at least three signs visible to the public. The signs should identify the store as a place to buy cannabis and the like, including budget buds. There has to be a business name that identifies the site as a marijuana store.

The advertisement should be truthful. Retail stores selling marijuana should not give out coupons or promotional materials that encourage the sale of marijuana and its products


All advertisements should clearly show the person behind the content. Placing advertisements through the print media, cable TV, and radio should only do so in areas the target population is expected to be 21 years and above.

Individualized or direct communication should use age affirmations to verify if the listener is at least 21 years of age.

In the spirit of truthfulness, use information in marketing that has the brand or product that is consistent with the label and content.


The general requirement in this state is that:

  • Retail establishments should not use misleading information on the product on sale.
  • Television advertising is restricted if more than 30% of the audience who will watch the program are under the age of 21.
  • Advertising the sale or use of marijuana should not explicitly be targeted to persons outside the state of Colorado.
  • Outdoor advertising is prohibited except in circumstances such as having a fixed sign next to the location of the marijuana establishment.
  • Retail marijuana stores can be part of charitable events such as sports or similar events seeking sponsorship. However, there can be no further involvement in the establishment of the advertising business.

Advertising recreational cannabis in the United States means reading through the differences in the legal framework for each state


No direct or indirect cooperative advertising can take place between or among the following individuals:

  • Dispensary personnel, producers or physicians on locations where such intended advertising can influence or affect the patients’ freedom of choice when selecting a physician or where to purchase cannabis.
  • Advertisement of marijuana should have a representation relating to the safety and efficacy of cannabis unless there are substantial proof and clinical confirmation about the claim.


No individual is to broadcast paid or unpaid advertisements on medical marijuana with the aim of soliciting clients.

Any center with rehabilitation facilities cannot use the same floor or building with, or refer the patient to, a physician.  This rule appears similar to Connecticut in that they want the individual patient to have some freedom to choose from doctors and cannabis providers.

Washington DC

Any person who offers training and certification on medical marijuana shall have an approval certificate from the State Department. The same department must approve all programs in the curriculum.

All prices related to marijuana sales must not be anywhere near the window of the selling establishment.

Advertising with the content on medical marijuana should not be placed anywhere on the windows exterior or the interior side of the door.


Treatment facilities may not advertise to the public or on the street, along with the parks, or common places, with the exception of the actual location of the treatment center.

Marijuana treatment centers can use the internet for marketing as long as the following conditions are true:

  • The department approves all advertisements
  • All content must be targeting an audience of 18 years and above
  • No popups as an advertisement
  • Easy opt-in and opt-out features on marketing platforms

Washington State

Business signs are limited to two signs permanently fixed to a building or structure permitted to sell.

Signs must indicate that persons over the age of 21 can use marijuana.

Billboards can be used to identify the establishment and nature of business.

Transit advertising is not allowed in vehicles, public or private, bus stops, taxi stands, waiting for areas, etc.

All advertisements should restrict its audience within the state of Washington.

Failure to comply with advertising laws can lead to disastrous consequences


The use of signage demands that the retailers must have the following:

  • No minors are permitted anywhere on the premise.
  • No on-site consumption of marijuana, be it Sativa or Indica.
  • Establishments with a point of sale terminal should consider notifying the health department about their retail sales. They must also have the following signs on the counter: (1) A warning poster for pregnant women (2) Poisoning prevention poster (3) A copy of a poster that reads “Educate before you recreate.” (4) The marijuana information card is distributed only at the time of purchase.

New York

An advertisement on any medically approved marijuana product shall not have the following (among others):

  • False or misleading advertisement
  • A statement with incorrect information about competitor products
  • Obscene or indecent representation, picture, or illustration


The article has not covered all state regulations concerning marijuana advertising and licensing. This is purely an informational piece that should not be regarded as legal advice. Only a legal professional and information from the department of your state can guide you on where and how to run a cannabis advertisement.  Please note that it is illegal in the United States to purchase cannabis through the mail.


Author’s Bio

Jessica is a cannabis and health industry consultant who frequently writes about the latest trends in the industry. She has been writing for a long time now. Through her writing, she hopes to influence as many people as possible to help maintain better health and lifestyle.


This is a guest post by Jessica Smith. This post has been edited for syntax and grammar.  The Law offices of Jay Leiderman is not responsible for the accuracy of the content herein or any opinions or ideas expressed herein.  This post is for entertainment and literary value and is not intended as legal advice.  This post does not establish an attorney-client relationship of any sort.  If you have legal questions about ideas presented herein please contact a lawyer knowledgeable in this field of practice.

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