NACB Releases Cannabis Industry’s First-Ever National Advertising Rules, Commencing Public Comment Period

The standard is designed to demonstrate that NACB members operate at the highest levels of ethics and responsibility.

April 25, 2018

PRESS RELEASE: WASHINGTON, DC and DENVER (April 25, 2018) - The National Association of Cannabis Businesses (NACB), the first and only self-regulatory organization (SRO) for U.S. licensed cannabis businesses, has published for comment the NACB Advertising National Standard. The Standard is designed to help NACB members protect consumers and demonstrate to regulators, financial institutions and the public that NACB members operate at the highest levels of ethics and responsibility. The NACB Advertising National Standard is available for public review and comment at today until May 25, 2018.

The new NACB Advertising National Standard addresses key public health and safety concerns, including:

- Ensuring that businesses only advertise where there is a reasonable expectation that no more than 15 percent of the audience for the advertisement is under 21 years of age. This includes all forms of paid advertising, event marketing, public relations and any other initiative that is calculated to induce sales of cannabis or cannabis products.

- Preventing cannabis advertisements from depicting the consumption of cannabis or promoting excessive use of cannabis, similar to the alcohol industry’s voluntary advertising standards.

- Eliminating offers of gifts or prizes as an incentive for product purchase through promotional marketing efforts, a rule that is also in keeping with other highly regulated industries.

- Ensuring advertisements don't appeal to minors by preventing the inclusion of a cartoon character, toy, mascot, brand sponsorship, logo, animal or celebrity endorsement.

Advertising is the second NACB National Standard to be made available for public review and comment. A Packaging and Labeling National Standard is awaiting a final member vote and is expected to be adopted by the SRO in May.

The NACB and its members, who are many of the most compliant legal cannabis businesses, believe that self-regulation is the most effective course of action for its members to control their own destiny in the face of regulators' growing need to intervene. The NACB is creating and members are committed to adopting national, voluntary standards that are aligned with regulators' priorities. To create each National Standard, the SRO takes input from government, members, and subject matter experts into careful consideration, while also looking at precedents established by other highly regulated industries, such as alcohol and tobacco. Once drafted and approved by members, the NACB receives feedback from the public during a month-long notice for comment period, after which the feedback is considered, the standard may be revised, and finally voted on and adopted by NACB members.

“Advertising was among the first areas our members identified as critical to address for NACB National Standards because it’s through marketing that the industry presents itself to the world,” said Andrew Kline, President of the NACB and a former federal prosecutor. “We are extremely proud that our members took their responsibility to protect consumers so seriously, going even deeper in prohibiting certain content than regulators might expect them to.”

“The work we are doing as members of the NACB in creating sensible national standards for our industry will set the stage for the future of the legal cannabis industry in this country,” said CEO Patricia Noonan of NACB member and Colorado-based Wonderleaf. “The Advertising National Standard will one day serve as the definitive set of rules for the marketing of cannabis and proud we took such care in making it comprehensive to best serve the public good.”

NACB National Standard Review Period

The NACB Advertising National Standard will be posted online at until May 25, during which time anyone can offer their comment. Every comment will be reviewed and considered, and may result in a revision of the standard. Following the review period, a new draft of the standard will be circulated to NACB members for a final vote to approve and adopt it.

For more information on the NACB and to review the proposed NACB Advertising National Standard, visit

Compliance with the NACB National Standard

Non-compliance with the NACB Packaging and Labeling National Standard, as with all NACB standards, can result in expulsion from the NACB or other consequences.

To help aid members in complying with the requirements of state governments and the NACB’s National Standards, the NACB expects to launch a technology solution exclusively for members in 2018. The technology platform is also expected to help members meet the rigorous due diligence required by banks, investors and other business partners, by creating an auditable ledger of compliance records.