Shifting perceptions of marijuana means businesses are favoring more responsible marketing. Now, social media accounts blatantly dealing with marijuana are being shut-down in high numbers.
The marijuana industry has a high hurdle placed on its legalization path. That is, overcoming the stereotypes that proliferate the marketplace. Cannabis advertising has always relied on visually appealing images of the plant called “weed porn.” Icons like Cheech and Chong were the epitome of cannabis culture, but the image they represent is no longer one companies can get behind.
Marijuana perceptions are maturing, and nobody can predict what the view of the plant will be in the future. While cannabis marketing was heavily comedic in the past, entrepreneurs are trying to clean the image of the plant. Highly elegant marketing combined with phrases like “bliss” or “relief” is what cannabis companies are favoring.
Marijuana Companies Run into Trouble
Companies that are blatantly dealing with illegal marijuana are starting to have their accounts removed from social media. CNET reports that a dispensary’s Instagram account in Las Vegas has been deactivated on six different occasions. One of the business owners asked for assistance from Facebook, which owns Instagram, only to get this response:
“Offering sexual services, buying or selling firearms and illegal or prescription drugs (even if it’s legal in your region) is also not allowed.”
The words in parenthesis tell the whole story. There is so much ambiguity surrounding marijuana companies and no answer as to why some companies are allowed to continue while others are destroyed.
How is This Different to Alcohol and Tobacco?
Liquor companies have no problem maintaining their social media handles. In fact, Budweiser’s Instagram feed has over 286,000 followers. The only requirement is that you are “of legal drinking age.” But how is that request monitored?
In contrast, tobacco companies have much stricter guidelines to follow. However, they’ve found loopholes to take advantage of certain hashtags and reviews. Similar ways are used to occupy the marijuana space on Facebook and Instagram. Users can utilize the hashtags #cannabis and #marijuana to be included in millions of posts.
The main problem is that the marijuana industry currently exists in a gray area. Part of this is due to U.S. federal government not paying attention to advancing scientific understanding of its therapeutic benefits. This is a fight researchers and companies have to wage on legislative grounds and in the voting booth.
But as of now, social media accounts will continue to be raided just like physical dispensaries.