Cannabis in America
Instagram is Censoring Accounts With Pictures of Legal Weed
Instagram has been deleting accounts that contain pictures of marijuana, even if the location where the account is based has legalized the drug in some form. Two companies in Canada, where medical marijuana is legal, recently had their accounts shut down by the social media giant after featuring pictures of legal weed.
“Nothing we’re sharing is against the law,” said Lift communications director David Brown. “Instagram is a US-based company. I suspect they don’t really understand the rules involving Canada.”
Lift isn’t the only Canadian company whose Instagram account has recently been taken down.
Tweed, Canada’s largest licensed producer of medical marijuana, used its Instagram as a vital piece of its marketing strategy since advertising medical marijuana in Canada is not permitted. Its account has been shut down twice.
“The work it takes to build an online community isn’t worth it if there’s the constant risk of it disappearing,” Tweed spokesman Jordan Sinclair told VICE. He said Tweed will not open another Instagram account, but will rebuild its social presence on Snapchat and Massroots as alternatives.
Instagram’s community guidelines state: “Offering sexual services, buying or selling firearms and illegal or prescription drugs (even if it’s legal in your region) is also not allowed. Remember to always follow the law when offering to sell or buy other regulated goods.”
However, there are accounts that have pictures of marijuana plants or promote illegal weed that haven’t been deactivated. Cannabis Culture, which sells recreational weed (which is still technically illegal) in parts of Vancouver and Toronto, has an operational account. Leafy and Weedmaps, smart phone apps which review dispensaries and use GPS technology to locate them for the use, both have operating Instagram accounts as well.
Brown is dumbfounded by the seemingly arbitrary account take downs.
“So a company that operates with the entirely legal medical cannabis space in Canada gets deleted, twice, but a company that cover the federally illegal recreational culture in the US and around the world gets a pass,” Brown said. “No rhyme or reason.”