Snapchat And Twitter Cannabis Ads Risk Government Crackdown

It may have repercussions for publishers and cannabis companies

Snap Inc. and Twitter Inc. are gambling that they can profit off the growing marijuana industry by running ads for cannabis products from licensed Canadian producers, testing restrictive laws in Canada on marketing weed.

Regulators in Canada declined to comment on an ongoing investigation into ads Hexo Corp. ran on Snapchat, the app run by Snap Inc.

Both Snap and Twitter have published ads for some of the largest marijuana companies in Canada such as Aurora Cannabis Inc. and Hexo, who advertise brands, medical pot and other products on the social networks, according to screenshots of ads obtained by MarketWatch. As the Toronto Raptors fought their way to the National Basketball Association championship, Hexo even went as far as sponsoring a Snapchat filter for users at a playoff game in Toronto.

Smaller rivals such as Zenabis Global Inc. have also been interested in advertising on social platforms. Zenabis was one of the first companies that participated in Twitter’s beta tests for the ad platform, according to Mandeep Khara, Zenabis’ chief marketing officer.

Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc. subsidiary Google do not allow advertisements for recreational drugs, which includes pot, according to the companies’ advertising policies.

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