Facebook has reportedly been making it difficult for cannabis businesses to appear on its users’ search results, thus mitigating the occurrence of marijuana sales on its platform. It now seems that the platform is changing its practice. Instead, it will permit cannabis businesses, verified by its platform, and users can view the verification by either a blue or grey verification badge.
Though there is no indication as to how the new practice will affect everyone, there are business owners who have reportedly been negatively impacted by the past censorship. Felicia Palmer, the owner of Cannaramic Media Inc. has a website dedicated to cannabis events and education. She alleges that Facebook has shown a “pattern of censorship and suppression of information” concerning the “legal use of cannabis.” Further, she alleges that the social media platform deleted her account, which she used to purchase sponsored advertisements to promote her Cannaramic Online Summit.
Cannabis brands are not new to issues with online marketing. According to Dustin Ianotti, the co-founder of Artisans on Fire, who commented in a Forbes article
“Creating a strategically sound digital marketing campaign in any industry always begins and ends with Google and Facebook Ads,” he said. “Cannabis brands have had to deal with barriers to this type of marketing since the birth of the industry.”
There are some who view the transition to permissive marijuana advertising as inevitable, given that the science is growing and people are looking into it as an option. According to George Archos, Zen Leaf Dispensaries Chief Executive, who commented in the same Forbes article, as legalization continues, “it only makes sense that Facebook would allow licensed cannabis companies to use Facebook ads.”