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Banned words in cannabis marketing

Dispensary advertising can be tricky with the banned words prohibited by text message marketing carriers. Find out how you can get around them.
And why you can send whatever you want when you send with Stemless.

Dispensaries have had a tough time with marketing, especially digital marketing. Despite being widely accepted as a legal product with valid medical use cases, cannabis is still federally illegal. As long as that’s the case, you can count on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to ban dispensary advertising. And if you can’t advertise there, you definitely won’t be allowed tv ads or radio ads – not that most dispensary owners can afford that!

That leaves us with two avenues: email marketing and text message marketing. While both are cost effective, scalable and accessible, text message marketing has an open rate of 98% and email marketing comes in around 1-5%.  This makes sms marketing campaigns the most effective form of advertising available to dispensaries (not to mention incredibly cost effective).

That said, while sending out text messages promoting your dispensary is not illegal, the carriers still don’t like it. Today, they actively scan for words that may indicate that you’re selling cannabis. Any mass campaign that’s found to have those words will be blocked – so you’re on the hook financially for a full campaign blast even if the carriers block your campaign after it sends out to a handful of customers!

That’s why we put together a list for you that gives you an idea of what words you should avoid if you want your dispensary’s text message marketing campaigns to go out uninterrupted.  This list is by no means exhaustive, or static. New words appear monthly, so check back if you want to stay on top of what the carriers are looking out for.

If you’re not interested in keeping track of banned words (and we don’t blame you for that!). Check out Stemless Text Message Marketing, the only SMS marketing platform that allows you to send any and all of the banned words below without filter restrictions.

Carrier banned word list:

Remember that variations of spellings on these banned words can also stop your campaign, or even worse, get your messaging account closed (Unless you’re with Stemless of course!)

  • Kush
  • Pre-roll / Preroll / prerolls / pre-rolls
  • Edibles
  • 1g / 3.5g / 7g/ 1oz
  • Indica
  • Sativa
  • Shatter
  • Kief
  • Ganja
  • Dabs
  • Concentrates
  • Gummies / gummiez
  • Budtender
  • Marijuana
  • Cannabis
  • Resin
  • Bong
  • Vape / vape pen

We’re sure you’ll agree that this list is rather exhaustive, and trust us when we tell you that replacing the letter o with the number zero won’t help get your messages through either.  It’s probably one reason why dispensaries have started sending out message board style texts. To learn more about that and why we’re not sold on their efficacy, check out our post on that here.

With Stemless, cannabis dispensary marketing is a cinch.  That's why budtenders everywhere choose Stemless to run their dispensary loyalty programs

Dispensary text marketing can certainly be tricky to navigate, but it doesn’t need to be. To make marketing simple, start with Stemless, and find out why our texting programs for businesses have been powering retailers in all industries since 2015.