Google, Facebook, And Twitter Still Say "No" To Marijuana

Categories: Marijuana, Tech

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The growth here is huge!
Erratic and as flighty a lover as it is, the Internet is deeply and madly committed to a few things: itself, Bitcoin, and marijuana.

And not necessarily in that order. All things weed related are a Web traffic bonanza -- and it's via the Internet that vital news like cannabis's ability to help kids with epilepsy spread -- and generate clicks and shares and plenty of activity on Facebook and Twitter.

Social media is happy about that, but not happy to take advertising money from the marijuana industry. Google, Twitter and Facebook are still rejecting weed ads, and the Apple store and Google Play are devoid of pot apps, according to AdWeek, even in states where pot is legal.

Facebook has rejected marijuana retailers' efforts to take sponsored posts thanks to the company's policy on "content," according to industry reps interviewed by GigaOm.

This limits the weed industry's ability to flourish via technology. You can use a Web-based service, WeedMaps, to find a dispensary, but you can't place an order or otherwise engage in pot commerce with the aid of social media (not yet anyway).

Google and Facebook may change their minds, but in the meantime, a rep for Facebook slipped in a good old pun.

"The risk of attempting to allow ads promoting the drug in certain states or countries where it is legal is too high (no pun intended) for us to consider at this time," Facebook spokesman Tim Rathschmidt told GigaOm.

We imagine it's only a matter of time before Twitter, Facebook and Google change their minds, as the market potential here is simply too huge: Colorado's legal pot stores reportedly cleared $1 million a day during their first week in business this month.

And in California, dispensaries are, by law, nonprofit collectives and cooperatives, which means that if they are the money machines law enforcement claims, they need somewhere to reinvest that money in the business.

That hard-earned, legal drug money could be yours, Silicon Valley. Not that you need it.

My Voice Nation Help

Google does allow marijuana ancillary business to use their adwords program just not the dispensaries themselves. For example, we'll begin listing our business - - an online dispensary price comparison site using their service in the coming months. Facebook allows certain ancillary organizations such as cannabis conferences and festivals but wouldn't allow ours.


We’ve had a personal test of this. My wife edits a blog dedicated to legal and local government issues related to marijuana legalization in WA ( Google lets us advertise the blog via adWords without any restrictions (they even took “pot sales” as a keyword). But Google adSense will not display ads on our blog because it is drug related (duh!!!). I followed up with friends who work at Google, but no one seems to know what the official policy around this is. Bing also lets us advertise, although they rejected many of our keywords/phrases. We currently use Chitika to display ads on our blog, and they mostly display ads about gardent pots and free legal advise :) Needless to say, we have almost no clickthroughs. Oh well.

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