Cannabis SMS Marketing Laws : What Are The Rules?
There are several laws and regulations that delineate how you can target customers with marijuana dispensary SMS marketing. Here’s a breakdown of how they affect your options:
Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association (CTIA)
While violating these conditions won’t get you fined, the association can recommend to cellular carriers that they stop allowing your company to use SMS marketing.
In addition, the CTIA forbids what they consider to fall under their Sex, Hate Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco (SHAFT) section, which includes cannabis and even CBD. This means that you cannot mention certain words that are directly related to cannabis, such as weed, marijuana, kush, bud, etc. You can still make it relatively clear what you’re selling, but you’ll have to use different wording to promote your dispensary through text so time to get creative.
Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)
The TCPA became law in 1991 and was meant to stop “telephone solicitation” and “unsolicited advertisement.” Basically the law means that you cannot reach out to individuals with the intent of marketing products or goods without their consent. Penalties for violations are steep, starting at $500 per message.
Unfortunately, you can’t “buy lists” or reach out to potential clients in a cold-call style of outreach to bring people into your cannabis retail shop. However, you can still send marketing SMS messages to people that do opt into your list (to do this, though, use a double opt-in system, which we will get to later).
In 2003, the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing Act was passed to “can” the amount of spam emails being sent over the internet. It was effectively the internet version of the TCPA with some provisions added that are only relevant to internet content and technology. Once text messages became widespread, SMS outreach was quickly protected by the same laws.
As far as dispensary SMS marketing is concerned, the CAN-SPAM act includes rules about straightforwardness and clarity in messaging. For example, the subject and header must be relevant to the content of the actual body without using misleading or deceptive language. In addition the “from” line must be accurate.