Restrictions on social media are making life pretty difficult for the cannabis community. This isn’t stopping us from winning at social media. We all know that the major social media companies like Facebook and Instagram are not fans of the cannabis industry. In 2016 both platforms removed thousands of social media accounts related to cannabis for violations of their terms of service. Despite this, cannabis still appears to be winning on social media, as savvy cannabis enthusiasts continue to find ways around the restrictions placed on them.
Despite the fact that cannabis is still criminalized under US federal law, support for legalization continues to grow among voters. One of the reasons for this is social media. One of the main benefits of using social media is the ability to connect with people all over the world.
This is especially the case when it comes to cannabis activism. Social media has helped give cannabis activists a platform from which they could use to spread their message to as many people as possible, and it worked. As of today, cannabis has been legalized in one form or another in over half of the US. Last fall, eight more states voted to legalize cannabis, in arguably the largest victory for legalization in history. One can argue that this would not have been possible without organizing on social media.
Marketing continues to be an uphill battle for cannabis companies, such as dispensaries, headshops, and CBD companies. Industrious cannapreneurs are not letting this stop them. As soon as their accounts are shut down, they are always ready with another account to take the place of the banned one. They’re also careful not to directly advertise their products on their Facebook pages. By posting news about the business, they are still able to get the word out.
Facebook and Instagram are also not the only platforms out there. YouTube remains a great platform for companies to post things like product reviews, news stories, and viral content. Tumblr is a great place for cannabis lovers to share memes and pictures. Some companies are taking advantage of Google searches by maximizing their SEO (search engine optimization).
Cannabis friendly social media platforms such as Massroots and our own have also cropped up in the wake of Facebook’s war on cannabis companies. These become a haven not only for cannabis enthusiasts all over the world to share news and stories, but also a place where cannabis companies can connect with users without fear of reprisal. Cannabis dating sites and friend finders, such as High There! are also helping to bridge the gap.
Despite pushback from social media, the cannabis industry continues to thrive, with states like Colorado raking in over 1 billion dollars in revenue from cannabis sales alone. Now that California, one of the largest states in the country, has legalized recreational cannabis, I think we can expect to see a much larger impact on social media in the coming years.
Platforms like Facebook and Instagram may not like cannabis, but they will never be able to erase it entirely from social media. Despite all their efforts, the cannabis community is still winning on social media.