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Marijuana Censorship On All Social Media Platforms is a Major Issue for Filmmakers

‘Weed the People’ and ‘Mary Janes: The Women of Weed’ exist — but where are the ads?

It’s pretty clear at this point that women in the cannabis industry are crushing it; but of course, success never comes without a fight.

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Filmmakers Windy Borman and Abby Epstein alleged that several websites and publications are promoting cannabis censorship. The reason they’ve both seen the roadblocks in the promotion of their films comes from the stigma around cannabis. The effects have rippled and inhibited their success, the work itself, and the people that they’re trying to help.

Borman, the creative behind Mary Janes: The Women of Weed, told Forbes that Facebook declined to run advertising because the page for the film related to issues of “politics and national importance.”

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The ad showed an antique photograph of women from the suffragette movement, holding an edited sign that gave the definition to the word Puffragette. The term, coined by Borman, is used to describe women working in the cannabis space that are also are fighting for “gender parity, social justice, and environmental sustainability” in the industry. Her film documents women working in cannabis, ranging from business owners to doctors.

“As a journalist, the fact that we’re being censored by a platform that exists in our own country is deeply disturbing to me,” said Borman, “As a filmmaker, one irony is I feel sure that ads for screenings of a documentary I could make about tobacco, sugar, the opioid crisis — any of those other big things, which are more harmful than cannabis — would get through the algorithms.”

Borman explained in the interview that her experience with cannabis censorship on Facebook negatively impacted the ticket sales for the film’s premiere.

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On the other hand, Abby Epstein, co-director of Weed the People, said that she got the short end of the stick when promoting her film about how cannabis works as a treatment to counteract severe diseases in children, such as cancer.

Like Borman, Epstein said promoting her film came with many barriers, including Facebook, Eventbrite, the New York Times, and an unnamed streaming service. Epstein said that federal grants weren’t an option.

“I know they have a lot of films to review, but I do think there’s a bias in the press. We won audience awards at major festivals, have a big team with a great track record, and the most timely subjects; we were invited to screen it for [British] Parliament in July,” said Epstein, “Our film will prove itself.”

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