Beware! You Should Never Do Business with these companies if you own a CBD Company, Dispensary, or Sell Hemp-derived products.
If you own a cannabis business, then you’ve probably noticed that some companies are not so friendly to the industry. Whether it’s due to outdated regulations or simply just a lack of understanding, there is no doubt that the cannabis industry has had its fair share of challenges when it comes to working with certain companies. In this blog post, I will be discussing the major offenders and companies you should never do business with if you own a cannabis business.
(not to be confused with WooCommerce Plugin)
These companies do not allow Cannabis companies primarily because they have integrated credit card processing and cannabis products violate their merchant processing terms. You may be able to get away with it for a few weeks, but their bots will crawl your website and catch the cannabis red flag keywords in not time.
What happens if you get your website shut down from Shopify, Wix, or WooCommerce.com
- You will have to rebuild your website.
- You may not be able to access the site anymore to copy or download the content to move it somewhere else.
- If you’ve purchased your domain through them, you will lose access to point the domain somewhere else. Never Purchase a Domain Name with any of these Platforms. Use a separate company to buy a cannabis domain name such as GoDaddy.
- You URL structure will change and kill your SEO.
- You’ll lose time and money. Do it right the first time around.
What companies can you use for a CBD or Cannabis Ecommerce business?
Domain Registrar: GoDaddy
Hosting: Siteground (Grow Big Package)
CMS Platform: WordPress (Self Hosted, not WooCommerce.com or WordPress.com)
Plugins: WooCommerce Plugin
Please contact us to learn about other amazing ecommerce plugins or to get a quote on our Web Design Services with a custom cannabis ecommerce site build.
There are many credit card processors that do not allow CBD or cannabis products, but these are the biggest offenders. It should be noted that Square does allow CBD products if you apply for their CBD program specifically. However, you can only sell CBD products. If you add any Delta 8 or other psychoactive products, they will shut you down in a heartbeat. The other reason Square is at the top of the list is when they do shut you down, they automatically route all phone calls from any phone number you’ve ever used to call in to Voicemail Indefinitely.
These payment processing platforms have policies against processing payments for any type of cannabis-related product or service. This includes dispensaries, delivery services, ecommerce sites selling related products, and even some hemp-based items like CBD oil have been known to get flagged by these companies as illicit goods and services! This means that if you’re trying to set up an online store for your cannabis business, these are not the payment processors for you.
What merchant processors can I use for CBD and THC products?
We currently use a merchant processing company called Merchant Industry. However, you can use any merchant processor that allows both CBD and, if applicable, Delta 8 and other psychoactive hemp-derived products. The most important thing is to be up front and tell them exactly what products you carry prior to applying. They will inspect your website and have bots crawl your website regularly to ensure you’re not selling unauthorized products. If you are not up front, you will get shut down and your reserves taken within a few months guaranteed.
Amazon has been notoriously strict when it comes to cannabis-related products, especially those containing cannabidiol (CBD) or THC. They occasionally allow hemp-based products, but only if they contain hemp seed only. Hemp seed oil has no CBD or other cannabinoids. It’s like other cooking oils like olive oil and on Amazon, these products are marketed like CBD but are the definition of “snake oil”.
eBay follows the same guidelines when it comes to selling cannabis products on their marketplace.
Google Ad Network
Google AdWords is another company that doesn’t welcome cannabis-related businesses like CBD companies or marijuana dispensaries. This means that if you advertise your CBD business on Google AdWords, it will likely get flagged and taken down. So, this is another company you should probably steer clear of when running your cannabis business.
It should be noted that we are only speaking about Google’s paid ads platforms, Google is still a necessary platform to utilize, especially when it comes to SEO, Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Google Optimize, and Google my Business which shows up on Google Maps.
Facebook is another one of the major internet platforms that has taken a hard stance against cannabis-related businesses including CBD companies and Medical Marijuana businesses. Even though CBD can be sold everywhere, and marijuana is legal in many states across the USA, Facebook still won’t allow any ads related to the sale or promotion of any hemp or marijuana products that contain cannabinoids like CBD or THC anywhere on their platform.
Where can we pay to advertise CBD products?
A great place to start is Taboola. Whether you know it or not you’ve seen their organic ads on your phone at the end of blogs. Taboola is a Programmatic Advertising Platform. This means over time it learns which ads are performing the best in front of which audiences. After a few months of using Taboola, you’ll be able to know your target audience and the best ads and landing pages for each. Then you can scale up your advertising efforts to target your best performers.
Below is a great article which covers some “Bread and Butter” advertising strategies along with several paid ad options.
Cannabis Marketing is still very challenging. Running paid ads is still not allowed by Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or on Television. Even the marketplaces like Amazon and eBay won't allow you to sell CBD or any Legal Hemp products, making marketing for CBD Companies very challenging. However, there are 5 things that still work and have for years. These are the 5 things that every cannabis company should do for marketing.
(owned by Intuit)
Some companies will shock you when they shut your account down. One of those companies is Intuit’s QuickBooks Payroll. You’ve done nothing wrong except for being a hemp company. Even though you’re completely compliant, licensed, and run a good business, you can get shut down anyway. If you use them and they find out you’re selling hemp-derived products, on a Friday when all your employees are expecting checks, they won’t come. And that’s why. It’s rather ridiculous considering the entire service requires you to give them all the money up front, then they disperse it to your employees. Zero risk to them but it doesn’t matter. Don’t use them.
What are Companies owned by Intuit that CBD Companies Use?
The two companies Intuit owns that are also widely used in the cannabis space are QuickBooks Accounting Software and MailChimp. Both are trash by the way. They surely have some great features and may seem easy to use but when you dive deep into the actual functions of them in real life, they are the worst in the industry by far.
Here’s a few examples.
QuickBooks accounting has huge issues because it does not stay with the last date of a bank account sync. My bank requires I change my password every month. This creates a gap when synced with QuickBooks when I don’t. And instead of QuickBooks registering the last date and time the banking information synced. It starts all its syncs on the date you fix the updated password creating huge gaps that you manually must go back and do.
MailChimp, on the other hand, has almost no checks and balances on them. Full-Service emailing companies should not rely on you to know everything. But they do. Here’s an example. I have another website that I’ve had for years. One of my forms required the First Name and email address and the Captcha that I was using stopped working for one reason or another. Some auto-marketing-software submitted hundreds of First Name and Emails on the form using First Name’s that had profanity and full sentences about Asian porn and Russian brides. My weekly emails were set up to start out with Hi (FirstName). And because MailChimp didn’t have any safeguards for these types of spam keywords which when sent can ruin a domain and Ip reputation (basically everything from then on goes to spam), hundreds of emails went out with Hi “F-word Asian girls”. This completely ruined my domain reputation and Ip address. Was this all MailChimp’s fault. Of course not, but it showed me that it’s not worth paying for. Plus, how long will it be before they stop allowing CBD newsletters?
If you use WordPress on Siteground hosting, I’d consider trying The Newsletter Plugin (premium version with Add-ons). Setup a Subdomain called updates.yourwebsite.com or newsletter.yourwebsite.com and send responsive newsletters right from your WordPress Dashboard for free. And since you’re using Siteground, you never have to worry about your Ip address getting ruined because they always rotate 1000 Ips and change out the bad ones regularly. You also don’t have to worry about warming up your Ip address because Siteground has already done it for you. Plus, if you send from a subdomain, your main domain reputation is protected. Siteground gives you free email accounts when you host with them, and The Newsletter Plugin is less than a few hundred bucks. Well worth it.
Twilio – used to Send SMS order notifications and messages.
Little known fact about Twilio:
Twilio does not allow Cannabis companies to send or received SMS (text) messages. How will they catch you. Well, the moment you send, or a customer replies, a test message containing the words like, “cannabis, CBD, or THC”, they will most likely shut your SMS account down. They did it to us when a customer replied to our text message with a question about her “CBD Product” after she received a coupon code named “CANNABIS”.
What happens when you use a Company that doesn't allow CBD or other Hemp-Derived Products?
Loss of Income
Time spent finding a replacement solution.
Tarnished Brand Reputation Tarnished
While there are certainly many more companies out there who don’t necessarily accept businesses in the cannabis industry, these are some of the major offenders, the ones that we often hear about and see firsthand when seeking business solutions for our new CBD company. It’s important to remember that while these companies may not accept businesses within our industry today, things could always change in the future as laws continue to evolve and attitudes shift towards marijuana and hemp businesses. Until then though, stay informed. We hope you have success within this ever-evolving industry!