Marijuana businesses allover the US are at a disadvantage to other businesses simply because the federal government refuses to acknowledge marijuana as a safe and legitimate medical and recreational drug. Not only do marijuana businesses have trouble with banks and credit card companies, but advertising as well. Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and Twitter all have rules against advertising illegal substances, which really makes promoting your new brand difficult. Cannabis companies are getting creative in ways that allow them to get around these bans by linking users to their own sites, or embedding ads before a link takes you to the desired content. While these methods are not perfect, compromises must be made in a world where TV and the web are filled with alcohol and prescription drug advertisements, but medical marijuana is a no-go.
“You’re pretty much cut out,” of mainstream advertising, said Paris Holley, chief technology officer at Mantis. The business started out as a publication, Medical Jane, then branched into advertising after it didn’t have enough ad space. Now it places ads in more than 250 mostly pot-related sites which received more than 12 million unique visitors over the past month, Mantis said.