It has come to my attention that Instagram has been deleting the profiles of users whom post pictures of marijuana related content. They have also been deleting the accounts of dispensaries and activists, regardless of whether they are operating in a responsible manner in States where marijuana is legal. Social media is an important place for cannabis users to share photos, videos, news, events, and even business and activism. The Internet plays a key role in creating a cannabis community and culture while also informing users about responsible consumption and effects. The terms of Instagram state that any account can be deleted at any time without an explanation. Cannabis users believe that they deserve a more secure platform in which they are able to share cannabis related content without fear of repercussions.
In each case of an account being deleted, users received a message stating that they were flagged for terms of services or community guideline violations.
“No one knows what we can or cannot do. Generally, dispensaries are pissed off,” says Stephen Gold, co-founder of the Daily Leaf.
Instagram refuses to provide further explanation to the users whose profiles have been deleted. This is followed by a lot of confusion as to what exactly it is that the tech support team considers a violation of the terms of service and why some accounts are being deleted while others are not. Instagram refuses to see dispensaries as legitimate businesses. Their guidelines state in part that, “Offering sexual services, buying or selling illegal or prescription drugs, as well as promoting recreational drug use is not allowed. Remember to always follow the law when offering to sell or buy regulated goods, including firearms, alcohol, and tobacco.” This suggest a very conservative and rigid stance that marijuana content is not tolerated on this App and that changes to these guidelines will only occur once there is national legalization of marijuana.
There are rumors going around on the Internet suggesting that pharmaceutical companies are paying people to flag accounts with marijuana related content as inappropriate as a concentrated effort to wipe out the competition.
You can sign a petition on https://www.change.org/p/kevin-systrom-mike-krieger-create-cannabis-community-protection-on-instagram to the CEO of Instagram, Kevin Systrom, and the co-founder of Instagram, Mike Kreiger, to endorse a “more responsive technical support team as well as more security in posting content on Instagram.” This petition aims to create protection for the cannabis community on social media and demands from Instagram for more support in regards to marijuana.
Apart from the petition there are some community members that decided to create their own social media Apps to promote cannabis. Social High claims to be the “Facebook for all things weed” creating a platform aimed at connecting those in the cannabis community. Their App is available through the Apple Store and for Androids via the Play Store. Social High allows its users to post cannabis related content. Through their App users can find, connect, and share with local members, cannabis strains, and related activities within the local community, wherever that may be.
Writer : Mariana Aguilera