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Marijuana is legal in some form (medical, recreational or both) in 30 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, but when it comes to digital media efforts related to the industry, social media platforms seem to be stuck in 1936, when the cult classic Reefer Madness was released. Several experts explained that many social networks, like Facebook and Instagram, hold conservative and antiquated stances when it comes to marketing cannabis. Digital publishers and ad agencies involved in the cannabis industry said they have been hamstrung because they’re banned from advertising on some social platforms, seeing their social accounts (and, in some cases, the influencers they were working with) go up in smoke. “It’s been frustrating for us not being able to advertise on Facebook and Google because of our involvement in the cannabis industry,” said Jeffrey Zucker, co-founder and president of Green Lion Partners, a business strategy firm focused on early-stage development in the regulated cannabis industry. He added that he has had to deal with influencers who have spent a lot of time building up their followings suddenly seeing their accounts deleted without any prior messaging or warning, and often with no recourse. Isaac Dietrich, CEO of MassRoots, a digital community for medical cannabis users, expressed similar frustrations, saying that MassRoots’ Instagram account has been removed and restored three times, and adding that Instagram and its parent company Facebook “don’t seem to give much guidance on what type of cannabis content is allowed and what type isn’t.” While MassRoots and other marijuana-related companies have been banned from advertising on Facebook and Instagram, Dietrich said his company uses influencers and has also been able to run some ads on Twitter, spending more than $150,000 on that social network over the past two years. The Cannabis Industry Is Still Fighting for Legitimacy on Social Media Platforms

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