One of the best ways that legalization advocates can harness the power of the Internet is through social media, where support for ending the drug war continues to grow. Social media can lead to hours of wasteful time sharing memes or having unproductive arguments with strangers, but it can also be used as a worldwide tool to share valuable information about cannabis.
Even though support for legalization continues to grow, marketing online can be tricky for legal cannabis companies. Some dispensaries and other legal cannabis businesses have seen their accounts shut down or their posts removed on various sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. The reasons given for this is that these companies view cannabis products as “not advertiser friendly.”
Google’s advertising policy bans the promotion of medical weed, but views the ads from many pharmaceutical manufacturers as perfectly fine. Another thought process as to why Google does this is that they’re fearful of losing shareholders that maintain prohibitionist delusions. Regardless of their reasoning, Google, Facebook and others are potentially losing millions in medical cannabis-related ad revenue by upholding these anti-cannabis policies.
There is perhaps no greater evidence of the overwhelming public support for legalization than in the comment sections of news stories, blog posts and Facebook shares. A perfect recent example of this is a story out of Georgia, where officers bragged on Facebook about making a relatively small pot bust – calling them ‘dopers’ and praising efforts to ‘get them off the streets’. After receiving backlash for wasting time busting victimless criminals on the taxpayer’s dime, the sheriff’s office took the post down.
Many Americans no longer accept the harmful, age-old rhetoric of the failed war on drugs. They understand that the war on drugs endlessly drains resources and has unfortunately created a division regarding law enforcement and the public at large. Thankfully, there are groups of former police and other law enforcement agents who have realized the harms brought on by the war on drugs. Non-profits such as the Law Enforcement Action Partnership (L.E.A.P.), formerly Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, are perfect examples of these forward-thinking individuals. Much of the success achieved by these activists can be attributed to the organizational efforts and sharing of knowledge via social media.
Social media platforms and Internet conglomerates like Facebook, Instagram and Google might not like seeing cannabis on their websites. That’s too bad for their content and ultimately their bottom line, because weed is winning on their sites – with or without their permission.