If you run a marijuana-related business, perhaps you already know that the cannabis industry faces numerous restrictions when trying to market their products and services.

Let’s dig in.

The woes

First, you can only advertise using media whose audience is purely made up of adults. That said, cannabis brands cannot advertise in places where children spend a lot of time: stadiums, vehicles, arenas, near schools, or anywhere indoors where children are permitted.

Such strict advertising laws make email marketing look like a great marketing strategy for cannabis businesses. The reasoning here is that since the people in the business’s mailing list willingly subscribed to receive the business’s messages, they are obviously interested in information about marijuana products and the cannabis industry at large. But this has not solved the puzzle.

Even when the subscribers are genuinely interested, marijuana brands need an email marketing software provider that will enable them to send marijuana-related messages to their subscribers. Since cannabis is illegal at the federal level, most email marketing applications are reluctant to support cannabis-related businesses.

While email marketing application providers do not state that they do not support cannabis businesses, they require users to follow “acceptable terms of use.” Such terms forbid users from sending messages about illegal goods, drugs, or services – including marijuana.  However, there are certain email marketing companies out there that specialize in the cannabis industry. Read on to learn more.

Acceptable terms of use

We dug through a plethora of email marketing providers’ websites to find information about their acceptable use policies as well as prohibited content. Let’s look at a few ‘acceptable use’ policies, so you get a better feel of what it entails.

  • MailChimp acceptable use policy
    Mailchimp’s acceptable use policy does not explicitly state no to cannabis businesses. However, in the ‘prohibited content section,’ it says that users are prohibited from sending emails that promote illegal things or offer to sell illegal goods or services.
  • HubSpot acceptable use policy
    Section 7 of HubSpot’s acceptable use policy states that users are not to send any unlawful material or content that is “in violation of any applicable local, state, national or international law or regulation.”
  • InfusionSoft acceptable use policy
    In section 4 of their acceptable use policy, InfusionSoft states that they can terminate your account if you engage in practices such as selling illegal drugs. The section further states that InfusionSoft can terminate a user’s account if the user engages in any practice that is in Infusionsoft’s discretion, unlawful, obscene, threatening, objectionable, pornographic, hateful, abusive or libelous.Your account can also be terminated if your business engages in activities that encourage any criminal conduct; against any local, national or international laws.  This simply implies that it is up to Infusionsoft to decide whether or not you will use their services.
  • GetResponse terms of service
    GreatResponse does not particularly say no to cannabis businesses. However, in section 6 of their terms of service, they have included a link to a list of things that customers should not use the service for. The list includes streaming, offering to sell, engaging in or disclosing, either directly or indirectly, any service or goods that market any kind of drugs, or products related to drugs.
  • ActiveCampaign acceptable use policy
    Like all other mailing service providers, ActiveCampaign does not directly prohibit marijuana businesses from using their service. However, in the section where they address “Content and industries to additional scrutiny,” the policy says you should not use ActiveCampaign to send messages related to illegal substances.
  • Constant Contact use policy
    According to the Constant Contact prohibited content and commerce statement, Constant Contact cannot be used by persons or organizations that promote or sell any services and products that are illegal (in the location at which the content is shared).
  • Campaign Monitor policies
    Section 4B of Camping monitors policies states that users agree not to use the service to transmit or solicit material containing links to illegal drugs or any other content that Campaign Monitor deems inappropriate at their sole discretion.

As you can see, most email marketing providers use the phrase “at our sole discretion” or another similar term in their terms of use. This means that the companies reserve the right to terminate or suspend your account at their own wish. This is the case whether or not you sell marijuana products.

So, what is the solution for cannabis brands?

Well, you can try communicating directly to the email marketing provider you are using or thinking of using. Have them let you know whether you can use their service to promote your cannabis-related business without fear of your account being suspended.  When you do this, ensure that you get a written response.

You can also use a service such as Reefer Mail. Reefer Mail allows cannabis businesses that have been blocked by other email providers to build and use a mailing list on their self-hosted email marketing platform. This is the best bet that will ensure that the list you have worked so hard to build over the years won’t disappear without notice one day. Learn more about the available services here.

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