If the past few years has taught us anything, it’s that Facebook will let you publish pretty much whatever you want. Be it vaccine misinformation or out-and-out hate speech, the mods have been asleep for quite some time when it comes to doing an even adequate job of enforcing Facebook’s own policies on these matters.
And yet, despite the fact that Facebook has forced the U.S. to engage in a public service campaign to discourage its own citizens from ingesting horse dewormer, when it comes to cannabis, the social media giant still appears to have no chill whatsoever.
Plenty has already been written about the fact that many of the biggest players in the social media market remain steadfast in their refusal to offer an equal playing field to legal weed marketing interests. Though some small allowances have been made, by and large, cannabis prohibition is still the name of the game for what you’re likely to see during your daily newsfeed scroll.
Far from only being a matter of not allowing paid posts on behalf of cannabis companies, the weed ire of outfits like Facebook and Instagram (which admittedly both fall under the umbrella of parent company Meta) extends to the flagging of individual posts, shadow bans, and even permanent suspensions for users who are literally not breaking any laws.
It’s this last part that rapper and Cookies cannabis entrepreneur Berner can’t abide by any longer, which is why he’s announced that he’ll be launching a social media platform in partnership with the cannabis technology company Weedmaps.
In a press release detailing the new venture, Berner called out the Meta-owned apps Facebook and Instagram for costing marijuana businesses “valuable accounts and followers” as a result of their frequent crackdowns on users who share cannabis content.
As an alternative, Berner and Weedmaps intend to launch a new social media platform on Marijuana.com where pictures of gooey trichomes and smiling farmers will be welcomed, not cause for reprimand.
“I was fortunate enough to get my account back but many other community members have not been so lucky,” Berner noted in the statement. “This community is special to me and we believe in this plant and now Marijuana.com will unite and bring our people together.”
According to Ganjapreneur, the Nov. 19 announcement is actually more like a re-announcement given Berner and Weedmaps first publicized the idea all the way back in 2014 for a potential 2015 release.
That obviously did not happen, as Berner’s availability for such a project was unquestionably limited following the success of Prop 64 in the rapper’s native California in 2016. Since then, he’s been pretty busy as one of the most public figures involved with legal cannabis. Despite this delay, the prospect of a social media platform that does not cause high-profile cannabis posters to fear the sudden loss of their carefully cultivated accounts remains a potentially welcome change of pace. The question, of course, is whether enough users will flock to a new platform when they already have established presences on Instagram, Facebook, and so forth.
Arguably even more important than attracting users within the industry is likewise ensuring enough other people — customers, essentially —are also populating the site. As the many, many social media startups that have crashed and burned in Silicon Valley can attest, that’s no easy task. But if nothing else, it’s at least a firm step in the right direction.
As for how the operation will be structured, the release details that Berner will serve as executive director for the new venture and will also come aboard as a brand ambassador for Weedmaps. Per Ganjapreneur, the new social network will also reportedly include a “Powered by Weedmaps.com” rating and review system where “strains, shops, dispensaries, brands, artists, and consumers will be allowed to create free profiles and post cannabis-related content without fear of censorship.”
The role of Weedmaps in this new platform also comes fresh on the heels of the cannabis technology company announcing its partnership with NBA superstar Kevin Durant this past August.