Medical cannabis has been legal in California since 1995. However, since its inception, Facebook has frowned upon cannabis-related pages, sponsored posts, and other aspects. They have taken down the pages of countless legitimate cannabis businesses. They have also denied advertising to advocacy organizations that don’t even touch the plant. Their argument for doing so has always been based upon their strict policies regarding the advertisement and sale of illegal drugs. Since cannabis is still technically federally illegal, Facebook has been able to stand behind this argument. This is despite thousands of cannabis businesses operating legitimately in state implemented markets.
According to a recent announcement in The Telegraph, Facebook is looking at potential changes. Changes that could prevent cannabis pages from being deleted in the future and even allow for sponsored posts that advertise cannabis products. Below is a statement from Facebook officials regarding this topic.
“Our policies at the moment do not allow for the sale of marijuana on the platform; we want to consider whether we can loosen this restriction, especially in relation to medical marijuana, legal marijuana, and brick-and-mortar stores. Since marijuana faces different legal and social restrictions across the globe, this may be operationally challenging for us. We may encounter regional push back in those areas of the world where the law or society views marijuana negativity.”
Nothing Solid in the Works
Currently, there is nothing official in the pipeline. However, Facebook is working internally on potential changes. Now, they have tasked a specific group with proposing new rules and regulations regarding cannabis on Facebook. This group is also responsible for determining what enforcements are realistic according to reports. This is essential considering the vast differences in cannabis laws around the world.
Any Changes for Instagram?
The same problems that have been faced on Facebook by cannabis businesses and activists have also occurred on Instagram. Coincidentally, Instagram’s parent company is none other than Facebook. If Facebook policies changes, chances are those changes would trickle down to Instagram as well.
According to a report by Marijuana Moment, any changes that made to their policies would not affect their current rules regarding cannabis sales via its marketplace. It would, however, allow for cannabis companies to have a listing of their prices on Facebook pages and in groups for the first time without it flagging their artificial intelligence that looks for a post mentioning or displaying illegal drugs.
This could be the beginning of the end for the stigma faced by cannabis businesses on one of the world’s largest social media platforms. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!