If you’re on Facebook or Instagram, you might have noticed it: some of your favorite marijuana pages have disappeared. It seems Instagram (which is owned by Facebook) has been into the practice a little longer, but things look to be accelerating on both social media platforms.
We’ve reported on Instagram shutting down accounts before, as well as Facebook eliminating the pages for legal medical marijuana dispensaries. Businesses and other marijuana-related pages have been shut down in recent months on Facebook and Instagram from places like Colorado, Oregon and Vancouver, British Columbia.
If you go back further in Facebook’s history you’ll find the company refusing cannabis-related advertising, but the shutdown train has really barreled down the tracks as of late. The question is: why?
Theories range from Facebook’s fear of somehow being caught up in racketeering charges to the possibility that the powers that be at FBHQ just don’t like weed. No matter the reason, businesses that rely on these social media platforms as cheap avenues of advertising and spreading information are the ones taking the hit, along with their customers and fans.
“Social media provides the opportunity for a dialogue about cannabis, showing people that it’s normal,” said Lauren Gibbs, president of Rise Above Social Strategies. “A lot of people still aren’t comfortable walking into a dispensary, but with social media, you can create an image of a company that people can relate to and feel comfortable with their product.”
Instagram has even targeted the accounts of cannabis “celebrities,” seemingly at random. Many content creators and companies have had to restart their accounts several times after shutdowns, starting back at square one each time. Things have gotten so bad that the advocacy group Marijuana Majority has started an online petition calling on Facebook to stop deleting marijuana pages.
Marijuana becoming mainstream is vital to its acceptance as a legal product on par with alcohol. Places like Facebook and Instagram are great for increasing the acceptance of this amazing plant. If they won’t cease their shutdowns, then maybe new platforms need to be advanced and promoted.