How Changes To Marijuana Laws, Policy Could Impact Ad Industry, Search Advertising

As President Joe Biden pardons thousands of federal marijuana offenders and changes some of the federal laws affecting users, will Google and Microsoft change their stance on search advertising on their respective platforms?

Biden last week said he will pardon thousands of people convicted of possession under federal law and urged state governors to do the same. Last week, he ordered the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Attorney General to review how marijuana is scheduled under federal law. The change could have a substantial influence on the advertising industry, especially online.

“This signal from POTUS and the Federal Government, eases a lot of concerns of institutional investors, which will open up more capital to established retailers, brands and ancillary businesses,” said Jon Lowen, co-founder of Surfside. “This will allow for more investment into the space and help fuel continued growth, innovation and consolidation. It hopefully clears the path for new regulation around lower taxes and better banking for the industry, which will also bring more operating capital into every plant-touching business in the industry.”



The latest version of Apple’s iPhone software gives users an option to track medications and learn about possible drug interactions with other substances such as marijuana. 

This is the latest example of changes to a progressive industry and iOS 16 updates to Apple’s Health app. Users can tell Apple’s Health app if they use alcohol, cannabis or tobacco to search for “potential interactions between medications on your list.”

While many states have legalized cannabis for medical or recreational purchases, Marijuana Moment reports there have been studies published over the years that suggest cannabis could interact with pharmaceuticals like warfarin. There are nearly 400 “known” interactions between prescribed medicines and marijuana, 26 of which it categorizes as “major.”

Data from Surfside — a marketing technology company that aggregates first-party data — estimates that consumers who consume cannabis begin to prepare for the holiday buying season around Halloween. They begin to buy cannabis-related products on Friday, October 29, and then continued to buy all Halloween weekend long.

Sales in 2021 on the Friday before Halloween rose 48% and sales on Saturday rose 21%, compared with the year-ago period. Sales of edible treats on the Friday before Halloween rose 66%.

The Surfside report — The Season of Green 2022, Cannabis Holiday Sales Trends and Strategies — published recently looks at trends in 2021 and suggests the same will occur this year.

Green Wednesday — the Black Friday for the cannabis industry — is one of the hottest sales day of the year for the industry. It falls in November the day before Thanksgiving.

In November 2021, cannabis sales rose 72% on Green Wednesday and 62% on Black Friday. In December, sales rose more than 40% on Christmas Eve, and 54% New Year's Eve, compared with 2021 Monthly Averages.

In December, cannabis sales are typically 10% higher compared with October and November. Consumers might be winding down, but cannabis sales pick up as the year comes to an end.

Sales between December 16 and 31 are 29% higher than sales between December 1 and 15. Sales spike for vape-related products, at 63%, and 64% for edibles on December 23, and overall are about 40% higher for sales on Christmas Eve.

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