A potential goldmine continues to go untapped, despite tech companies salivating at the prospect of getting a slice of the new booming cannabis industry.  An industry where money practically grows on trees in places like Colorado and Seattle.  Social networks have shown interest in allowing marijuana advertising, but Facebook is still unwilling to serve advertising space to cannabis-related websites or brands.

Major digital advertising buyers fear of losing their larger brands if they were to open their doors to marijuana businesses, as the big companies do not want to be associate themselves with pot in any way.

This road block of marijuana avoidance by digital advertisers is just another challenge to the industry that they are determined to get around.  For instance, Ben & Jerry’s supported the Colorado initiative by announcing the huge support shown in the marijuana dispensaries.

Other companies are finding ways around Google AdWords’ strict, no-tolerance policy against marijuana websites, mainly by improving the search optimization of slang and abbreviations used in the cannabis industry.  This is a delicate dance between companies and Google, but it is essentially allowed to continue until Google decides to update their policies.

WeedMaps grew to the prominence it has partly due to the market being unserved by more uptight websites.  This business is hugely successful and has seen monumental growth over the past two years.

Web developers, though, can’t wait for the day when industry-standard digital marketers decide that the marijuana industry’s profits speak louder than the stigma still attached to it by the higher-ups.  The fact that you can advertise marijuana advocacy and legislation efforts on all social media platforms, and Google, just add salt to the wound.

Marijuana businesses should have at least the freedom that alcohol brands have when it comes to advertising, without fear of using the wrong word or being too explicit with their descriptions and getting it removed, losing valuable advertising dollars.

The only thing holding back the ability to replicate the huge success seen in Colorado’s first year, online and in every legalized state, is the lack of tools to expand the reach of marijuana marketers. Digital marketers are probably chomping at the bit to get at the massive user-base and growing budgets in the cannabusiness.

Natalie
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