June 24, 2019

October 17, 2018

Canada is putting blanket legalization into effect this week. From regulators to public and private sector, everyone is taking up the measures to adapt to the reality of legalization. As the promulgation date is approaching, World’s biggest social media platform Facebook has also revised its policy regarding cannabis. The new policy has come into effect on October 11.

Prior to this policy change, cannabis and marijuana pages were facing a shadow ban from Facebook. The search results on the platform automatically filtered the words ‘cannabis’ and ‘marijuana’. This search restriction even affected the accessibility of government regulators. For instance, one couldn’t find the page of California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control in the search result. In addition, Facebook used to delete marijuana-themed pages without any prior warning or reason.

Sarah Pollack, Facebook’s spokesperson, has told media that the policy amendment will help legal marijuana ventures and organizations to run their operations while continue to curb illegal drug sales. She has also provided the reason why cannabis and marijuana-related searches are filtered by the Platform. The measure has actually been in place to limit the outreach of illegal cannabis trade on the platform. However, with new amendments, all the cannabis-themed pages with the verification of the platform will appear in search results like any other query.

Facebook revised policy regarding cannabis
Facebook revised policy regarding cannabis – Image powered by Fysociety.net

The verification process is a must

In order to avoid the shadow ban of the platform, legitimate cannabis entities have to go through an authentication process. Facebook will review the verification applications by assessing the on-the-ground status of such ventures. For instance, a licensed cannabis store in Canada or California will be eligible to get the verification from Facebook.

Pollack has also reiterated that on the broader level they will still consider cannabis as an illegal commodity and continue to put a filter on its search to make it impossible or difficult to carry out the sales of illicit drugs on the platform

Impact of lifting this ban

Impact of lifting this ban
Impact of lifting this ban – Image powered by Ctvnews.ca

For legal cannabis businesses, the new policy implementation of Facebook is undeniably a positive development. The lifting of the ban will considerably increase their access to the target market. Without breaching any law and code of conduct, they will be able to use the platform for promotion and sales. In jurisdictions, where home delivery services are allowed for cannabis, Facebook pages can prove to be ideal platforms for legitimate cannabis businesses to run their online operations.

Certain cannabis advocacy groups are running their Facebook group and pages without mentioning the words ‘cannabis’ and ‘marijuana’ in their content. Most of these groups are made to help people troubled by marijuana-related law enforcement. They also discuss the ongoing legislative debates on the topic in different states. Putting content without using relevant words is not an easy task and all such groups might also get the much-needed reprieve from Facebook.

Cannabis is a legal commodity in most part of North America. 30 states in the US have legalized cannabis for its medicinal use, whereas Canada has made all uses of cannabis lawful. Facebook’s decision to lift the shadow ban can also be seen as an implication of cannabis reforms all across the continent.

Marijuana stays in the news, and Alice is always ready to keep us updated. A world traveler and lover of freedom, Alice knows what is going on, no matter where she roams. She specializes in marijuana legalization stories across the globe, with up to date... [read more]


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