Are Recreational Marijuana Companies’ Social Media Posts Compliant with Regulations?

Bottom Line: Recreational marijuana use was legalized in the state of Washington in 2012 and there are regulations about posting product promotion messages on social media, while direct advertising of marijuana on social media remains illegal. Under state regulations, marijuana companies can’t advertise using language that promotes overconsumption, describes marijuana’s curative or therapeutic benefits, or is designed to appeal to youths. This study analyzed more than 1,000 posts on Facebook and Twitter from the business pages of six recreational marijuana companies in Washington state to see how often they adhered to state regulations. Most social media posts were consistent with state regulations but there were 17 posts (1.7 percent) that encouraged overconsumption; 137 posts (13.3 percent) that promoted therapeutic benefits; and nine posts (0.01 percent) that appealed to youth. Requirements for warnings addressing intoxication, driving, health risks and age restrictions were on 110 posts (10.7%).

Visual Abstract

Authors:  Megan A. Moreno, M.D., M.S.Ed., M.P.H., University of Wisconsin-Madison, and coauthors


To Learn More: The full study is available on the For The Media website.

(doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.2242 )