CBD companies join to fight restrictions on SMS advertising

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Roughly 30 CBD companies have banded together in the USA to fight restrictions on SMS advertising of their products after a wireless industry trade group earlier this year added CBD to a list of content subjects that are off-limits. CBD comes under restrictions similar to those for hate speech and firearms under the restrictions.

The producers organized the CBD Brand Coalition after the ban was announced this summer by CTIA – The Wireless Association, a non-profit trade organization that maintains guidelines for suitable content in the wireless industry, and monitors and reports content violations.

Getting the SHAFT

The restrictions, imposed in July, are under CTIA’s standards for content about Sex, Hate, Alcohol, Firearms, and Tobacco ­– SHAFT, an acronym used by SMS marketers in referring to content they should avoid in their messaging.

The new SMS restrictions are among uneven rules that have bedeviled CBD companies as differing guidelines have been established by major marketing channels.

CBD sellers say SMS messaging is a key marketing tool because it lets them connect more directly to consumers. That’s important for both sales and education, say the companies, who claim the restriction also hampers their ability to cut deals with retailers.

‘Another legal hurdle’

“The SHAFT regulations create another legal hurdle in our mission to destigmatize CBD and educate consumers on its benefits as a healthy and safe ingredient,” the coalition writes in its petition.

“By censoring CBD, the CTIA is contributing to the misinformation surrounding CBD and limiting the education and exposure of consumers to this natural plant-derived ingredient that has been shown to have positive benefits for health and wellness,” the petition, which has attracted roughly 14,000 signatures, suggests.

While the SMS issue sparked formation of the CBD Brand Coalition, organizers say they will collaborate ongoing to address marketing issues, and will next target Facebook with a campaign aimed to clarify that company’s policies on CBD content.

Uneven guidelines

Facebook, Amazon, Google, Shopify, TikTok, and many other platforms offer some rules that allow CBD content, but those guidelines are uneven.

Facebook’s banned substances list does not include CBD, but the company does not have specific public terms and conditions or policies. Twitter, on the other hand, has specific, detailed policies for CBD under which it permits “approved CBD topical advertisers” only, which stakeholders say is overly restrictive in that it bars CBD food products, the category’s biggest sub-sector.

Fundamental changes needed

The brand coalition is urging passage of the federal Hemp Access and Consumer Safety Act, which would create legal and regulatory pathways for the sale of hemp-derived extract products such as CBD food supplements, and health and beauty products.

The CBD companies also called on the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to move forward with long-awaited regulatory changes that would distinguish hemp-derived CBD from marijuana and create compliance standards and guidelines.

Listed on the petition as CBD Brand Coalition members are:  Prima, Recess, Plant People, Papa and Barkley, Svn Space, Sweet Reason, Miss Grass, Foria Wellness, Fleur Marche, Juna, Looni, Muri Lelu, Cann, Apothecanna, Hivi, Onda Wellness , Vertly , FruitsLabs, Empyri, Quim, Omura, ENUF Period,  oHHo, Plant Society,  Calm Better Days, Flor De Maria, Botanica Boutique, Liweli, Toastyy, Raw Botanics Co., and Receptra.

READ: Petition of the CBD Brand Coalition

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