There are a lot of fine lines that cannabis industry businesses simply cannot cross due to the current federal prohibition of the plant. Generally the biggest problem that we hear of is the fact that banking is not readily available – which is a big cause for concern for many reasons.
This time, the problem stems from social media platforms who have been taking down marijuana industry pages for months now. Apparently, adhering to national standards is something that a website available worldwide still has to do – because the companies are claiming that it’s against terms of service considered “promoting recreational drug use”.
It all started last year, but most notably last fall when Instagram removed several Oregon cannabis dispensaries (both medicinal and recreational sales) woke up to find months of hard work down the drain as their accounts no longer existed.
A few of the Oregon businesses to be affected includes Daily Leaf, Lunchbox Alchemy and Green Goddess. A company called Green Front lost both business accounts as well as the owner’s personal accounts.
More recently we’ve seen Instagram take down Incredibles, a Colorado based company owned by Medically Correct, LLC as well as Dixie Brands and even MassRoots.
MassRoots is a social media platform for cannabis users – and they had a social media following of 369,000 followers – four times the number of followers on Leafly or other similar accounts. Dixie Brands has already managed to get their page back up and regain 10% of their following – but for each and every one of these companies the damage is already done.
While this whole mess originally seemed to only be related to Instagram accounts, news that Facebook has taken down business pages for medical marijuana dispensaries in New Jersey surfaced recently.
There out of the five medical marijuana dispensaries in New Jersey had their pages removed from Facebook for violating community standards. The affected companies include Breakwater Treatment and Wellness, Garden State in Woodbridge and Compassionate Science in Bellmawr.
Originally, it seemed the problem was contained specifically to Instagram, but with the recent action taken by Facebook (who owns Instagram) suggests neither plans on allowing canna-businesses the ability to benefit from social media.
Instagram’s community guidelines do address these issues somewhat, as the guidelines state in part: “Offering sexual services, buying or selling illegal or prescription drugs (even if it’s legal in your region), as well as promoting recreational drug use is also not allowed. Remember to always follow the law when offering to sell or buy regulated goods, including firearms, alcohol, and tobacco.”
The thing is, these companies need social media for advertising. It’s one of the most affordable and efficient ways to get the word out about products or services. There has to be an agreement to be had here – there has to be a middle ground. There is no reason that images of marijuana or related accessories shouldn’t be allowed.