While CBD brands have been looking to reach a wider global audience, they have been hindered by multiple barriers, from Google Ads not allowing CBD to be mentioned, or risk having their accounts being disabled, to PayPal freezing CBD accounts, which has happened to so many brands I’ve spoken to. Facebook and Instagram have held a strong ‘No’ policy towards CBD advertising, albeit a few have got around this rule with clever wording, while the same situation is occurring on Twitter ads.
However, the biggest factor which has held back many brands from reaching a wider audience has been Amazon holding strong on saying no to CBD being sold on their platform. This always seemed like a surprise, considering the amount they could be making (not that they’re short on cash), however they made a change in the UK during the summer and below I’ve gathered as many details as possible.
Interview With Harry Straight
I got in contact with Harry Straight, who is the Corporate Communications Media Manager for Amazon UK, who provided a few more details regarding this subject.
When asked about the subject, Harry stated “We are always seeking to increase the selection we offer our customers and help them find and buy anything online.”
“The listing and sale of ingestible hemp products, including lozenges, e-liquids, sprays and oils that contain CBD or other cannabinoids are prohibited on Amazon.co.uk, except for sellers participating in a limited, invite-only pilot. The pilot is currently by invitation-only and is not accepting additional sellers.”
“This pilot only applies to products listed on Amazon.co.uk and is not available on other Amazon websites.”
I then asked for specific details of when the pilot launched, however the response was simply “The pilot launched in the summer”, so I’m not certain precisely when it occurred.
He also added “You can see our EU listing guidelines here: https://sellercentral-europe.amazon.com/gp/help/external/GDB9KV3NJYRES4AQ?language=en_GB&ref=efph_GDB9KV3NJYRES4AQ_cont_201743990.”
I followed up by asking which brands are included in the pilot program, at which point he said “on background I would point you to products live on the store from Healthspan and Natures Aid, although we aren’t providing an exhaustive list”.
He couldn’t offer any more details on the timeline or future plans, as I would love to know how long the program will run for and whether they have a strategy around opening this up to all CBD brands and sellers in the foreseeable future.
Considering we’re not far off from the FSA March 31st 2021 deadline for CBD brands to get their dossiers in, it is unsurprising that Amazon is getting ready for this, as there will be greater levels of regulations which lowers the chances of lawsuits or legal complications. You can also read my article on the food standards agency deadline for CBD brands.
I have split opinions on this subject. I work with so many CBD brands and I can see them being absolutely delighted by the prospect of selling on Amazon, as it could heavily increase their revenues. But I’ve also worked alongside many e-commerce platforms such as Nature’s Healthbox, who are small family run companies and have been performing very well selling CBD oil in the UK and I find it sad that some of their business will be taken away by Amazon. There is no doubt that once Amazon takes this on head-first, they will take the number one spot on Google, while they will also be heavily bidding on PPC once Google relaxes their rules.
I’m also curious about why they specifically chose these CBD brands, there were so many to pick from and this slightly went under the radar up until a few weeks ago.
This is clearly a turning point in the CBD industry, that cannot be understated, with the negative connotations and mindset towards cannabis drastically changing over the past 24 months and the industry growing rapidly.
What delightful irony that the Corporate Communications Media Manager for Amazon UK saying “The listing and sale of ingestible hemp products, including lozenges, e-liquids, sprays and oils that contain CBD or other cannabinoids are prohibited on Amazon.co.uk” is called Harry Straight!