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Big Tech Softens Cannabis Content Policies

January 25, 2022 12:21 pm ET

Despite historic tension between the tech and cannabis industries, VentureBeat reports that a slew of new policies from big tech companies in 2021 has signaled a critical turning point in the ongoing struggle.

In February 2021, actor John Belushi called out big tech over its unjust policies regarding cannabis content. In a tweet, Belushi wrote, “So sick of Facebook / Instagram. They shadow banned my farms Facebook page Belushis Farm and our Instagram. PLUS, they constantly take down our content. Don’t they know canabis a medicine?”

Belushi’s tweet echoed the sentiments of a frustrated cannabis industry that felt its content was being unfairly censored by big tech.

Given the cannabis content policies of many tech companies, it is easy to understand why the cannabis industry is fed up. Google, for example, prohibits advertisements for “substances that alter mental state for the purpose of recreation or otherwise induce ‘highs.’” Apple similarly prohibits any apps that streamline cannabis delivery or information on its popular App Store.  

However, things seem to be looking up for the cannabis industry and big tech’s relationship. For example, Apple now allows verified “legal cannabis dispensaries” to display their apps in the App Store. Facebook too seems to have loosened its policies, as the formerly shadow-banned Belushi’s Farm page is now back on the site.

With the cannabis industry having one of its biggest years yet, it is clear that legal marijuana has real staying power. However, that doesn’t mean that big tech’s relationship with the cannabis industry doesn’t matter. Big tech’s embrace of cannabis is key to validating the industry in the eyes of consumers, government agencies, and financial institutions alike.

What do you think of big tech’s stance on cannabis content? How do you see these policies shifting in the future? Let us know in the comments!

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