NY Cannabis Use Awareness Ads Hit a TikTok Roadblock
In the wake of cannabis products finally hitting the shelves, New York State Authorities lead a massive campaign to raise awareness of safe cannabis use. But not everyone got on board — the social media giant TikTok categorically refused to participate.
The reason for this is the platform’s strict “no drugs” policy which bans advertisements of anything related to substances, illegal or prescribed drugs, homeopathy, or even weight-loss pills.
More precisely, TikTok refused ads featuring the word cannabis, even when perfectly legal and coming from the New York State Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) — an entity specially created for the recreational cannabis’s regulatory framework.
A little over a year after the historic decision of New York to legalize recreational cannabis for adults over 21 years (31 March 2021), authorities are still optimistic about the new market.
Recreational pot is supposed to generate $350 million annually, 20% of which is intended for the Drug Treatment and Public Education Fund. Recently, the OCM is trying to educate the public on safe cannabis use, especially younger users.
The all-media educational campaign focuses on responsible marijuana use and features such warnings as marijuana use during pregnancy and cannabis smoking and driving.
This is why it’s important for the OCM to reach the younger public, and why TikTok could be a major player in the campaign. With three-thirds of users falling into the age bracket of 18 to 34, it’s the ideal platform.
OCM’s letter signed by the executive director Chris Alexander is the start of the negotiations between the state and the social media mogul. But will TikTok give in to the pressure, and enable the OCM access to their young public? Time will tell.