Vireo Health, a company with medical marijuana dispensaries in both Minnesota and New York, did what any normal business in any industry tries to do: increase business with Google Ads.
However, when Vireo tried to buy some digital ads focusing on New York, Google hit Vireo with a bizarre rejection note. The rejection stated that the mega-company couldn’t work with Vireo because of a company policy that prohibits ads for “dangerous products or services.”
It’s unclear when Vireo attempted release the ads in New York (probably somewhat recently), but the news surfaced when Vireo decided to go public with the denial and talk to the Minnesota Star Tribune. Vireo wants to use Google Ads in Minnesota to drive medical marijuana patients to its business, a rather sensible goal in a state where the success of the medical cannabis program is being scrutinized
Likewise, Vireo (or the Tribune, it’s unclear) tried to get in touch with Google via phone and email about the Minnesota ads, but have yet to supply any response to the query. However, as the Tribune points out, marijuana falls into the same categories as tobacco and guns, just a couple of the items Google won’t allow ads for because they “cause damage, harm, or injury.”
That logic is fair until you consider that this is medical marijuana, not some illicit drug that causes cancer. Vireo founder Dr. Kyle Kinglsey makes this poignant point to the Tribune:
“As a physician, it’s hard to understand why Google willingly accepts ads that promote highly addictive painkillers, like OxyContin, that are responsible for thousands of deaths each year, but knowingly rejects medical cannabis ads that could, in many cases, be a significantly safer therapeutic option for patients,”
Kingsley said in a statement.
Medical marijuana provides an undeniable well-being to lives. Preventing people from accessing sensible data on the plant seems a bit short-sighted and not with the times.
Moreover, these types of ads aren’t even controversial ones promoting cannabis smoke. They’re simply standard, geo-targeted Google Ads that increase pageviews and exposure, two cogs of running a business in this day and age.