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What is the Best Way to Use SMS in the Cannabis Industry?

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Running an SMS campaign for Cannabis or CBD in the U.S. or Canada?

You should stop the campaign and read below…

In response to many customers’ queries about executing SMS campaigns for cannabis-related content, We must inform you that, unfortunately, cannabis is a restricted content for SMS messaging in both the United States and Canada. As a result, disseminating cannabis-related content through text messages is not allowed.

However, alternative methods are available for communicating cannabis-related information to your audience. For instance, utilizing Email or the email API could serve as an effective channel for email campaigns. Or, in some cases, old-fashioned postcards. 🙂 They still do work! However, they are costly, and you will need a bigger team to manage them.

Email or VOIP approaches require implementing adequate age verification processes and ensuring your communications target recipients in regions where cannabis is legally permitted. Furthermore, Voice (VOIP) products do not face the same limitations imposed on SMS by carriers, offering another viable option for reaching out to your audience.

This comprehensive guide dives deeper into using SMS marketing to propel your cannabis business forward, ensuring your strategy is effective and compliant.

What SMS Platforms are Cannabis Friendly?

Choosing the right SMS platform is crucial for the success of your SMS marketing efforts in the cannabis industry. The ideal platform understands the industry’s unique challenges, including stringent regulations and market sensitivities. This article will explore ways to set up cannabis-related businesses for texting. Again, messages containing cannabis or CBD-related products are banned in the USA and Canada. Choosing a text message provider that promises delivery might be risky.

When assessing SMS platforms for suitability within the cannabis industry, it’s crucial to consider several key points:

  1. Support for Short Code and TFN: Shortcodes (short, memorable numbers used for SMS marketing) and TFNs (Toll-Free Numbers) are essential for effective communication in the cannabis industry. Ensure the SMS platform supports shortcodes and TFNs to facilitate reliable and professional messaging.
  2. Customer Service: Robust customer service is vital, especially in an industry with unique regulatory challenges. Look for SMS platforms offering responsive customer support, including setup, compliance queries, and troubleshooting assistance.
  3. Compliance: Due to strict advertising and marketing regulations, compliance is paramount in the cannabis industry. Choose an SMS platform that prioritizes compliance with industry-specific laws and regulations, such as those governing age restrictions, content restrictions, and opt-in/opt-out procedures. Platforms should offer message filtering, opt-in consent management, and compliance monitoring to help businesses adhere to legal requirements.

By considering these points when evaluating SMS platforms, cannabis businesses can ensure they select a solution that meets their specific needs while remaining compliant with industry regulations.

Important update: March 2024…

Maybe, in the future, the cannabis world will be allowed on text messaging platforms in the US. Let’s take a look at the breaking news below, published last week by Benzinga:

The cannabis industry follows rumors that the DEA might soon reschedule marijuana to Schedule III, reducing regulatory burdens and taxes for the industry. A prominent hedge fund manager, Doug Kass, shared the news on social media. This potential shift from Schedule I could lower cannabis companies’ federal taxes, significantly impacting their operational costs and consumer prices. The upcoming Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference in Florida is set to discuss these developments further and their implications for the industry.

Source: Benzinga 15 March 2024
Cannabis Stocks Jump On News That DEA May Soon Undertake Marijuana Reform

Finding the Best Partner for SMS Marketing in General

To find a platform that aligns with your business needs, focus on a few key aspects:

  • Compliance Features: Look for platforms with tools designed to keep your messages compliant with state and federal regulations. This includes age verification prompts and opt-in/opt-out management.
  • Integration Capabilities: The ability to integrate with your current POS (Point of Sale) and CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems will streamline your marketing efforts, making them more efficient and effective.
  • Analytics and Reporting: Access to detailed analytics helps you measure the success of your campaigns, understand customer engagement, and adjust strategies accordingly.
  • Compliance Features: Seek platforms with age verification prompts and opt-in/opt-out tools for regulatory compliance.
  • Integration Capabilities: Ensure seamless integration with POS and CRM systems for efficient marketing efforts.
  • Analytics and Reporting: Access detailed analytics to measure campaign success, understand customer engagement, and adjust strategies.

Engage with online communities and industry forums to learn from the experiences of other cannabis businesses. Their insights can lead you to reliable platforms catering to the cannabis market.

Cannabis SMS Marketing: A Guide For Dispensaries

For dispensaries, SMS marketing is not just about broadcasting messages; it’s about building relationships. Here’s how to do it right:

Crafting Your Opt-In Strategy

Begin by developing a compelling opt-in strategy. Clearly communicate the benefits to your customers, such as exclusive access to deals or first dibs on new products. Transparency about the frequency of messages and the ease of opting out reassures customers and builds trust.

Once your opt-in strategy is established, implement it across various touchpoints, including your website, social media, and in-store signage. Make the process seamless, leveraging clear and concise language to guide customers through the opt-in process. Regularly revisit and refine your strategy based on customer feedback and engagement data to ensure its ongoing effectiveness.

Content That Resonates

For many, the question might still stand, What is the best way to use SMS in the Cannabis Industry? Well, one thing is for sure, your SMS messages should be more than just promotional. They must resonate with your audience, providing real value in every text. This could include:

  • Product Updates: Inform customers about new strains, products, or restocks.
  • Exclusive Offers: Send special promotions or discounts that are only available to subscribers.
  • Educational Content: Share tips, industry news, or usage guidelines to educate your audience and position your brand as a thought leader.
  • Event Invitations: Extend invites to cannabis-related events, product launches, or educational seminars, fostering a sense of community among your audience.
  • Loyalty Programs: Implement SMS to communicate details about loyalty programs, reward points, and exclusive perks for dedicated customers.

Personalization enhances the impact of your messages. Use customer purchase history and preferences to tailor your communications, making each message feel like speaking directly to the individual.

Dispensary Text Marketing: Campaigns, Compliance, & SMS Strategy

A well-rounded strategy addresses the content and delivery of your messages and ensures they meet all legal requirements.

Effective dispensary text marketing involves two key elements: adhering to compliance standards and honing a well-crafted SMS strategy. Create targeted messages for exclusive deals and product launches while ensuring compliance through age verification prompts and transparent opt-in/opt-out options. Develop a dynamic SMS strategy with analytics to measure campaign success and optimize content for engaging customers effectively. This comprehensive approach ensures dispensaries leverage the power of SMS to connect with their audience while following regulatory standards.

Designing Effective Campaigns

Successful campaigns strike a balance between promotional content and valuable information. They are:

  • Timely: Schedule messages when they are most likely to be read and acted upon.
  • Relevant: Segment your audience to ensure the message is pertinent to their interests and behaviors.
  • Actionable: Include clear calls to action, guiding customers on the next steps.
  • Strategic SMS Promotions: Successful SMS campaigns in the cannabis industry strike a balance between promotions delivered through SMS.
  • Interactive SMS Elements: Enhance SMS engagement by incorporating interactive elements like polls, surveys, or contests related to the cannabis industry.
  • Personalized Cannabis Messaging: Leverage SMS personalization to tailor messages to individual preferences and behaviors within the cannabis industry.

Navigating the Legal Landscape

Compliance is critical in the cannabis industry. Ensure your messages comply with the TCPA and other relevant legislation by:

  • Obtaining Explicit Consent: Never send messages without explicit opt-in from the recipient.
  • Providing Clear Opt-Out Options: Make it easy for subscribers to opt out of receiving messages anytime.
  • Staying Informed: Keep up with changes in cannabis marketing regulations to adjust your strategies accordingly.
  • Implementing Secure Data Handling: Safeguard customer data and ensure it’s handled securely to maintain compliance with privacy laws.
  • Training Staff: Educate your team on compliance requirements to prevent inadvertent violations and maintain a culture of compliance throughout your organization.
  • Conducting Regular Audits: Review your messaging practices and data handling procedures regularly to identify potential compliance issues and address them promptly.
  • Documenting Consent: Maintain clear records of consent for each subscriber to demonstrate compliance in case of audits or legal inquiries.

A platform with robust compliance tools can simplify this process, allowing you to focus on crafting engaging content.

Formulating Your SMS Strategy

Formulating a robust SMS strategy requires thoughtful planning and execution. This process is crucial for cannabis businesses aiming to enhance customer engagement and drive sales. Here’s how to do it effectively:

Define Your Objectives

Start by setting clear, measurable goals. Ask yourself what you want to achieve with SMS marketing. Is it to increase foot traffic, promote online sales, or improve customer retention? Having specific objectives guides your campaign design and helps in measuring success.

Once you’ve identified your overarching goal, break it into smaller, actionable objectives. For example, if your main goal is to increase online sales, your smaller objectives could include increasing website traffic, boosting conversion rates, and reducing cart abandonment. You can create targeted SMS campaigns that address each objective by breaking down your goals into manageable steps.

Know Your Audience

Understanding your audience is key. Gather insights on their preferences, buying behavior, and the times they will likely engage with texts. This information shapes your messaging and timing, making each campaign more effective.

Identify key demographics, preferences, and behaviors within the cannabis market. Utilize data analytics to gain insights and continuously refine your approach. This proactive understanding ensures that your strategies align seamlessly with the evolving needs and expectations of your cannabis audience.

Craft Engaging Content

Content is king. Ensure your messages are concise, engaging, and offer real value. Whether exclusive discounts, product launches, or valuable tips, your content should prompt an action or response. Personalize whenever possible to make each message feel tailored to the recipient.

Moreover, consider the timing and frequency of your messages. Sending messages at appropriate times, such as during peak shopping hours or aligning with specific events or holidays, can increase their effectiveness. Additionally, avoid bombarding subscribers with too many messages, leading to message fatigue and opt-outs. Strive for a balance that keeps your audience engaged without overwhelming them.

Leverage Segmentation

Not all customers are the same. Segment your audience based on their interests, purchase history, or behavior. This approach allows you to tailor your messages more specifically, increasing relevance and effectiveness.

Furthermore, segmentation enables you to deliver highly targeted and personalized content to different groups within your audience. By understanding each segment’s unique preferences and needs, you can craft messages that resonate with them on a deeper level.

Test and Optimize

Continuous improvement is vital. Test different messages, send times, and calls to action to see what resonates best with your audience. Use analytics to track open rates, click-through rates, and conversion. Then, refine your strategy based on these insights.


Any text message with the words cannabis, CBD, or marihuana will be banned. The chances of your short code, TFN, or 10DLC being shut down immediately are close to 99%. You will most likely be unable to restore the short codes or TFNs. Choose your marketing strategy wisely and check local and federal laws about your marketing messages.

SMS in the cannabis industry


By integrating SMS marketing into your cannabis business strategy, you unlock a direct line to your customers, offering them value and building loyalty. With the right approach and tools, SMS marketing can drive your business to new heights, ensuring you stay compliant and connected in this dynamic industry.

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ProTexting was founded by a team of text messaging professionals with over a decade of experience in the industry. As part of the team, I am passionate about researching and writing about trends in text messaging, innovative SMS marketing strategies, and ensuring compliance with industry regulations. Follow our blog and be the first to know about Text Messaging tips and news.