Fyllo Chief Data Officer Nicole Cosby On The Nuances Of Cannabis Ad Compliance

Social Distancing With FriendsIn states where cannabis is legal, local governments designated dispensaries as an essential service when COVID-19 hit.

In lockstep with the lockdowns, cannabis ad compliance startup Fyllo saw an almost immediate increase in ad demand as dispensaries clamored to make sure people knew that they were open for business.

But cannabis advertising is a challenging space with a patchwork of regulations that can make your head spin, says Nicole Cosby, Fyllo’s chief data and compliance officer. In some cases, what’s legal at the state level – say CBD gummies or infused lotions – isn’t legal in a certain county or even a certain city within that same state. And forget about crossing state lines.

Fyllo's Nicole Cosby and her three-and-a-half-month-old Jack Russell terrier puppy, Cole.For example, if a new dispensary is opening in Michigan just across the state line from Illinois, you can’t target Illinois consumers to let them know it’s there.

“Those are the kind of nuances you have to navigate,” says Cosby, who came to Fyllo in September 2019 after four years with Publicis.

But there’s no denying that cannabis and CBD products is a massively growing business.

Publishers are opening up their inventory to cannabis brands, and there’s growing awareness that the cannabis audience is highly diverse. (Think moms in their 30s and 40s, not college kids in their dorm rooms). Nicole also believes that Facebook, Google and other large platforms are on the cusp of loosening some of their strict cannabis advertising restrictions.

“I think it’s coming,” she says. “The demand is undeniable.”

Also in this episode: the many challenges still facing endemic cannabis brands; why publishers are starting to get more comfortable with cannabis advertising; the meaning behind the name “Fyllo;” and Nicole shares her favorite stoner movie. (Hint: She’s a huge Dave Chappelle fan.)

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