October 19, 2021
Photo by Esteban Lopez on Unsplash

Marijuana on Social Media

By Ava DiGrande

Today is April 20th, otherwise known as “Weed Day.” This day has been granted a holiday in the eyes of cannabis-friendly individuals. Like any business trying to keep up with technology, cannabis dispensaries try to utilize social media to grow their brand. However, marijuana is not federally legal, and using social media to boost brand recognition is challenging. However, the cannabis community still tries to utilize social media, and each platform has its use in the industry.

In an age where a majority of things are advertised online, how is one supposed to grow a brand without the use of social media?

Platform Breakdown

Instagram’s role tends to be that of underground barters. It serves as a place where brands and dealers can post content in hopes of customers viewing and then purchasing products.

Twitter serves more of a chat function. Different industry brands are able to connect and maintain awareness of new changes in the cannabis community.

Reddit is a stock talk and stalk talk platform where growers post their plants. Reddit provides a more anonymous way to participate in the cannabis community.

Youtube tends to be where cannabis community members go to get educated. Individuals use Youtube for videos ranging from how to clean your bong to how to harvest your own marijuana plant.

Community Guidelines These platforms are essential to the cannabis community, but they range in value depending on the rules enforced on said platform. Twitter, for example, is pretty weed-friendly. Because they have such a strict character count and their user guidelines are vague, a lot of ‘illegal” weed content goes unnoticed. So essentially, a company or person sharing a link to a guide on how to make marijuana capsules could easily be shared on Twitter without it coming up on their radar. Twitter struggles to enforce its policies, leaving room for cannabis-friendly users to share and learn more about weed. Twitter allows for some cannabis advertising, but only non-ingestible and legally derived CBD topical products are allowed to be shown (to those 21 and over). States that do not recognize cannabis as recreationally or medically legal do not permit cannabis advertising. It may be difficult to keep track of what’s going on at various dispensaries as marijuana legalization differs from state to state. At the moment, all new and expanding dispensaries are looking into resources and solutions like POSaBIT (click here for more information) that can help them improve their customer service while maintaining legal restrictions and adhering to the law.

Facebook and Instagram take a more aggressive approach when it comes to the cannabis community. In 2018, moderators cracked down hard on weed content and began deleting pages without warning. Facebook classifies cannabis as a regulated good under the violence and criminal behavior section of its community guidelines. This means that weed is in the same regulated category as fraud, terrorist activity, mass murder, and publicized crime. Simply put, Facebook prohibits any attempt to manufacture, retailer purchase, sell, or trade non-medical drugs, pharmaceutical drugs, and marijuana. Facebook holds the power to take down any content deemed unworthy on behalf of this standard. Despite the fact that social media has varied rules for different drugs, you can easily find online dispensaries and websites (like https://lowpricebud.co/product-category/shake/, for example) where you can acquire high-quality cannabis. All you have to do is make sure it’s legal in your state and that you don’t get into any trouble because of it.

Platforms have such vague guidelines, which give some marijuana influencers and brands the ability to create accounts and go undetected. However, they run the risk of being deleted at any minute and instantly losing a way to connect with their followers. This makes brands and influencers wary of taking time and investing money in their social media platforms.

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Moving Forward: The best way to ensure that your cannabis social media account does not get taken down is to use an educational approach. Thankfully, cannabis is still a relatively new product and while there is a taboo around it, educating individuals on its benefits is the best way to sustain growth. Also, CBD has become a product many find beneficial to daily life. With a wellness aspect being connected to CBD and THC (the thing that gets you high), more individuals are becoming comfortable with the idea of cannabis. With education comes comfort and hopefully more content.

10 thoughts on “Marijuana on Social Media

  1. It’s interesting that the advertising of cannabis is held to such different standards state to state. It must be frustrating for cannabis business owners to not be able to utilize the tool of social media in the same ways that other companies do. This would definitely serve as a roadblock if someone was attempting to launch a new business. Cannabis business owners have to get more creative and find other ways to raise awareness that work around the strict guidelines.

  2. The relationship between cannabis and social media is extremely interesting. With the rules and regulations differing from state to state, I’m sure it’s extremely challenging to monitor. Also, with marijuana being so criminalized in the past, it adds another layer to the whole thing. It is crazy to me how people can make a living today by educating people and sharing their experiences with marijuana, while people sit in prison for the same reason.

    1. I 100% agree with your comment. The hypocrisy is very prevalent in the marijuana industry and the prison system.

  3. Very insightful discussion about the promotion of marijuana in a federal landscape. I agree that approaching the discussion in an educational manner will eliminate the stigma surrounding the product in general, and allow small businesses to further their brand in areas where they are able to.

  4. I love that you broke it down by platform to start off the post. I agree that an educational approach is the safest bet for keeping your account. Great tip! I love your post and found it interesting. I haven’t ever considered the relationship between the cannabis industry and social media so this really got me thinking!

  5. Ava, I LOVED your post! It was really nice how you broke it down by the platform and mentioned some of the loopholes in guidelines. I actually have a favorite weed influencer and her name is Laganja Estranja, she’s a drag queen who was on RuPaul’s Drag Race. Some platforms that she’s on a lot are Instagram, YouTube, and Twitch. A lot of people don’t know about Twitch yet because it was mainly used by gamers, but even a local Eugene dispensary has a channel there.

  6. Your blog post was very interesting and I received a lot of new insight into the different ways cannabis is represented on various social media platforms. The various outlooks on cannabis and how it is accepted in different states are also very fascinating. As a freshman, my dorm was across the street from a cannabis shop which could be seen as a form of encouragement because of how accessible and decently priced it is. However, weed is not legalized in Hawaii so it is very hard to come by and it is very expensive.

  7. I think many people were uncomfortable with cannabis for a while. With it becoming legal in more states, and now the rising phenomenon of CBD, people are more comfortable and open to their opinions on it. CBD is now included in coffee, tea, creams, etc. Everyone wants to get their hands on it! I think the best way to ease people’s worries is to educate them. Now that the public knows CBD won’t “make you high” everyone wants it.

  8. Yep! The majority of people in prison for marijuana charges are black and brown, while the majority of legal cannabis stores are white. Just another way that shows how racism is systemic and intertwined with our prison systems.

  9. Hello Ava! I found your post very interesting. I hadn’t really thought about how dispensaries struggle to establish their brands with social media due to guidelines. I feel like I see so much about marijuana on social media that I thought people just spoke freely about it now, but I failed to consider how it isn’t even legal in all states yet.

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