A few months ago, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued warning letters to manufacturers of e-cigarettes for overtly marketing their products to children. All licensed cannabis business owners should heed the warning - today. Let me explain.
It doesn’t take a marketing expert to see that the e-cigarette manufacturers involved in this enforcement action did not take proactive steps to make certain that minors were not specifically targeted in the marketing of their products. In fact, it’s clear that the FDA and FTC believe that the manufacturers targeted minors through the marketing of their electronic devices and the nicotine oils that fill them. What the manufacturers failed to recognize is that any short-term monetary gain would be offset by the likelihood of heavy fines and other civil penalties, not to mention lost business opportunities. When the FTC sets their sights on a company, they are laser focused on getting results. Remember that it was just over a year ago that the FTC levied a $200 million fine against an herbal supplement company for deceptive marketing practices.
The biggest shame here is that the recent enforcement action against e-cigarettes was entirely avoidable. As cannabis industry leaders, we believe we must all take action to make certain that we are not promoting our products to minors. The members of the National Association of Cannabis Businesses, a self-regulatory organization, are developing national standards for the industry that include good advertising practices that have the best interests of the public – including children – at heart. This is more than just corporate social responsibility - this is good business. By voluntarily and proactively setting rules that prevent promotion of cannabis to minors, we are limiting the chances of federal actions similar to those against e-cig companies and demonstrating that the cannabis industry is deserving of its increasing public acceptance.
NACB leadership and our members strongly encourage license holders in the cannabis industry to join us in pursuing common sense self-rule. We believe that through self-regulation, we will safeguard and grow our industry. Be Ready™ for a prosperous future.
The National Association of Cannabis Businesses is the first and only self-regulatory organization (SRO) in U.S. cannabis. Our members function as a self-governing community, focused on differentiating themselves to regulators, the public and others as the most legitimate, professional and trustworthy businesses in the industry.