on all US Orders
on all US Orders
Sit back, relax, and inhale some smooth cannabis smoke.
Here’s the roller coaster tale of the cannabis community’s growth and persistence on social media despite being shadow-banned, having their accounts deleted, and getting slapped with bad algorithms.
Though humans have cultivated cannabis for over 2500 years, the skunky green plant is notorious for having lots of haters.
Cannabis’s bad reputation spread across American households when the federal government classified ganja as a Schedule 1 drug in 1974.
Despite the prohibition of weed, the cannabis community continued to expand. Dedicated growers tended to their beloved cannabis plants, helping people with cancer, AIDs, and epilepsy. At the same time, scientists conducted research on marijuana’s therapeutic properties.
State governments took notice of the medicinal benefits of cannabis. In 1996, California legalized medical marijuana. And now in 2022, 37 states have legalized weed for medical use. 🍄
They also took notice of the profitability of recreational cannabis. Weed is legal in 18 states for recreational consumers – and it seems like many more states are on the cusp of legalizing it for their residents too.
Even though the federal government has yet to budge on cannabis classification status, its recent actions sparked massive growth in the cannabis industry.
In 2018, the federal government passed the Farm Bill, which legalized the sale of hemp-derived products across the US. The only stipulation? They had to contain less than 0.3% Delta-9 THC (the chemical compound in weed that gets you high).
Suddenly, the market exploded with all kinds of products infused with cannabinoids like CBD, CBG, CBN, and Delta-8 THC.
This introduced many Americans to hemp-derived products for the first time – and they would ultimately fall in love. With the advent of new cannabis products and technology, plus a ton of people interested in trying them, the cannabis community quickly expanded.
And what better place to advertise these innovative products and connect with customers than on social media platforms? 🍄
Or so they thought.
The cannabis community has it rough on social media.
Have you ever noticed that some of your favorite cannabis content creators have back up accounts in case their main one gets deleted? Or that seemingly innocuous posts of beautiful buds get taken down without warning? Have you seen cannabis content creators write things like “21+” and “nothing for sale,” on their posts or bios?
A shadow-ban occurs when a social media platform blocks users from seeing content. This typically happens after the user reaches a larger following or posts content that receives a lot of traction. A shadow-ban makes it harder for users to find your content and can render an account invisible to the algorithm.
Though the cannabis community has gone global with the rise of social media platforms, social media platforms continue to live in the Dark Ages.
While cannabis influencers, brands, dispensaries, and consumers can instantly connect at the click of a button, social media platforms like Meta, Instagram, and TikTok don’t make it easy.
Since cannabis is federally illegal in the US, social media platforms are exceptionally particular about the way it can be presented. Oftentimes, the rules are shady and aren’t applied equally to everyone. 🍄
This is frustrating for cannabis brands like MasonBrite, who had been posting content for 3 years before reaching 10k followers. Hitting this big follower number didn’t change MasonBrite’s content strategy at all, but Instagram took notice and arbitrarily shadow-banned the account.
On the same day MasonBrite was shadow-banned, cannabis content creator Jackey420 was also shadow-banned. With over 800k followers, Jackey has gained notoriety throughout the cannabis community for his enthusiasm about erasing the negative stigma towards cannabis in Asian cultures. But this wasn’t the first time Jackey had been targeted by a social media platform. Jackey had originally posted his cannabis comedy on Youtube, but moved towards the Instagram platform when the video streaming giant began its purge of cannabis accounts.
Cannabis influencer Bess Byers (@Cannabess) has had her instagram account deleted over 12 times for violating the platform's Terms of Service. But this recurring setback won’t stop her and others in the community from posting about cannabis.
Instead, cannabis content creators forge a path forward by navigating the various obstacles presented by obstinate social media platforms in different ways.
Though Twitter seems to be the most lenient platform regarding cannabis content; TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram are dangerous territory for cannabis businesses that depend on social media for advertising.
All cannabis content is a no-go on Facebook. Its mother company, Meta, lets some ganja content slide on Instagram. 🍄
Brands, dispensaries, and influencers have to be super careful about the types of cannabis content they post on Instagram. They don’t want to be penalized through shadow-banning, account deletion, or the removal of their posts.
So how does the cannabis community avoid getting victimized by the algorithm?
By following the rules (which, like we mentioned before, are applied inconsistently).
The first rule is to not engage in the promotion of marijuana. So brands and dispensaries may post pictures of their products, but they cannot discuss their benefits. Essentially, all they can do is take a picture of the product and state its name. Of course, there may be some businesses that get away with discussing their products in more depth, but that’s because the platform does not catch everything. Additionally, brands and dispensaries cannot show content where people are actively imbibing marijuana. 🍄
Similarly, consumers can post content of cannabis products they have purchased, but they should be careful not to post content of them consuming cannabis.
Even if they do follow every rule, many businesses and creators have backup accounts just in case they do get banned.
So many people work in the rapidly-expanding cannabis industry. It’s silly for social media platforms like Meta to indiscriminately apply rules to the cannabis community, especially when so many lives depend on it.
The US government’s federal legalization of cannabis or its reclassification from a Schedule 1 drug may be the only ways to stop the discrimination of cannabis creators and businesses on social media platforms.