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Facebook and Google refuse pot ads, even where marijuana is legal

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Stores can sell marijuana in Colorado and Washington but they can’t — for now — target potential customers on popular sites like Facebook(s fb), Twitter(s twtr) and Google(s goog). Despite the progressive reputations of these companies, they are keeping existing pot policies in place, frustrating the marijuana industry.

Taylor West of the National Cannabis Industry Association claims, for instance, that the trade group has tried to pay Facebook to “boost” certain stories  — including ones that simply linked to pot-related reports in publications like the New York Times — but the social network refused.

“It’s pretty ridiculous and short-sighted – not to mention hypocritical – for them to leave those legitimate ad dollars on the table,” wrote West by email, adding that,”We are told that our posts “violate content guidelines” or something along those lines.”

This reluctance to accept marijuana advertising is surprising given that the product is legal and that it’s possible to target online ads to certain demographics and locations. For now, however, the internet companies appear to feel that pot ads would be more trouble than they’re worth:

“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,” explained Facebook spokesman, Tim Rathschmidt, by email. He added that company policies do permit advocacy ads (ie “legalize it”), but not ones that promote the use of recreation drugs, including pot.

Google likewise confirmed that it is maintaining existing ad rules that include a ban on ads for “substances that can alter the function of the brain to induce unnatural euphoria, or alter reality, such as marijuana [and] cocaine.” Google does allow alcohol advertising, as does Facebook.

Both companies stated that they update their policies frequently so the marijuana policies could change.

In the meantime, AdWeek reported that “potrepreneurs” are also shut out of Twitter, but also states that the online advertising landscape could change dramatically if the companies update their policies and if pot advocates like Woody Harrelson and Snoop Dogg become celebrity endorsers.

Image by william casey via Shutterstock

10 Responses to “Facebook and Google refuse pot ads, even where marijuana is legal”

  1. Doug Pederson

    Teams in the Stoner Bowl XLVIII will be awarded copies of “The Stone”

    For medicinal purposes of course
    Here is a picture of replicas, the Stone and the Stone Dancer
    Here is a pic of The Three Special Stones !!!
    Here is a cross section view of the ToKin Stone

    These features make the ToKin stone a perfect match for Marijuana!

    -Cup your hand over the Joint chamber to snuff it out for later
    -You can relight very short roaches without any threat of burns
    -To rid the stone of short short roaches just give a good blow on chamber #2
    -You can give “pets” or “friends” a nose toke with the stone. Great for medical patients or calming wild beasts
    -You can give yourself a nose toke
    -You can easily give someone a toke by holding the stone to their lips
    -tip the stone back and touch the ash and it falls inside the rock. It’s own ashtray
    -The Toke stone saves marijuana; when you handle a joint it changes the air flow causing poor burns
    -You can easily pass the joint in the dark. Placing it in an open palm
    -A ToKin stone never gets foul tasting like dirty pipes. Enjoy the Marijuana flavor more
    -The Non Brass toke stones can be gently lobbed 5 or 10 feet
    -Put a few drops of menthol on a cotton swab and put that in chamber #2 when you have a sore throat or for flavoring
    -You can toke in the shower or rain by lightly cupping your hand over the burn chamber
    -Brass – aluminum ones can be warmed up using hot water and you can toke outside in 20 below weather
    -makes a great hand / foot warmer when heated
    -Indestructible. You could bash your way out through a wall if you had to
    -Easily cleaned with a standard tooth brush
    -Metal ones are guaranteed for a 1000 years
    -a great paper weight, conversation piece, exercise weight and household tool (crushed ice)

    They Will love ’em[email protected]/sets/72157635338389004/
    ( 62 Media stories on Flickr )

    Nothing in North American legend is more sacred than these Medicine stones.

    Doug Pederson AKA SpectateSwamp Stone Carrier

  2. Advocates like to use data and social pressure to explain why it should be legal. “Just because everyone does it doesn’t mean it’s right.” They forget about all the evidence that is still relevant that says that it is known to trigger latent mental illness and long term use causes brain damage. Lets not even get into the complacency issue. From the beginning it is apparent that in this country it is just another social control mechanism and is and will be readily abused by those who just “want to be high.” lets not kid ourselves into believing that it will be used for medical purposes. The lines at the dispensaries already show signs of that. The numbers on that is that at least half of the buyers were from out of state.

    Even Amsterdam has put a stop to tourists partaking because there is a problem with addiction and excess. The immature and irresponsible stand advocates have taken is amazing ridiculous. Even the Roman emperors understood if you keep the people occupied they can’t or won’t care what you do with the rest of their government.

    America is already behind the rest of the world lets finish them off by playing to their addictions and excesses. “You don’t need terrorist to destroy the nation, because it will be done so from the inside out through their vice.”

    • Mike Perry

      You whole rambling rant has not one single shred of evidence to back it up. If it’s so well known and the research is out there, PLEASE, please by all means post the references so that we may all be educated.

      It is people like you anbayat, spreading complete and utter fabrications of non existent research that confuse the people that are trying to get a true understanding of marijuana.

      Now, without me acting like you and contributing to the wealth of misinformation you just spread, I will say there is no research to confirm it, but look at all the 1000’s of cases of marijuana stopping deadly seizures in children, slowing or stopping many forms of cancer, helping people that have life ending diseases to feel more comfortable by relieving nausea and headaches, and much much more. Why exactly would you want to prevent these people from living a better life?

      • I’m sorry but I wasn’t aware this is a “make it personal and attack” forum. Everything I said is readily available for review. “if you look only in one direction you will find only one truth.” I am speaking on current research, personal experiences from what I have seen in my own community and historical facts on how addiction has been used in the past a social control mechanism.

        The “go to defense,” for someone close minded that does not want to hear the other side is usually to attack as you have done. I have looked at both sides with an open mind including the medical benefits. But that does not excuse the fact that it is misused and abused nor does it negate my opinion on regulation. Now mind you if you had done your research openly you would have easily gotten the information I just provided. I believe the research on triggering latent mental illness and brain damage is current research in Britain. It is not the first or the last. That directly relates to long term abuse.

        On a personal level in this community alone I can say that yes I even know a few addicts that can’t do without it and are willing to let their cars go, insurance lapse, not pay child support because come payday they need that fix and without it even seems to alter their moods. As for the brain damage have a conversation with one of these individuals. Many of us are talking about personal experiences, and what we know.

        Now that did not warrant a baseless personal attack because you don’t have an open mind enough to go do your own research. Neutral research is done looking for an answer not necessarily an answer for or against and whatever you find is what you find.

        Does it have medical benefits? yes Is it abused? yes Is it addictive? yes Does it change brain chemistry? yes Is it known to trigger latent mental illness in some? yes Is it known to cause brain damage with long term use? yes now learn to do more than google because actual scientific journals can give you more information than google.

        Now if you want to have an open dialogue that’s fine. I am all for it. But I don’t do drama or personal attacks. Talk to me when you have an apology and some information other than the mainstream, one direction, eyes closed perspective.

  3. Doug Pederson

    Prohibitionists think we should lose our freedom family & fortune because of pot; and feel we should be OK with them thinking that.

    Prohibitionists have no heroes (witness Ted Cruz) just liars, fibbers and stupid’s. Our side has thousands of heroes. Marc Emery is my favorite

    Prohibitionists are condescending judgementalists – every perceived personality flaw they see; is somehow related to pot.

    Prohibitionists are terrified at the possibility that Pot is a (performance / life) enhancing herb. They do like the falsehood that Pot dumbs peoples senses

    Prohibitionists will be lumped in with the temperance league (of alcohol prohibition) when it comes to smarts. Only they will be considered even stupider. The temperance league were right on a few points. Like violence and physical damage

    Prohibitionists are sure they know more about Cannabis than someone that has spent their whole life with the Marijuana plant.

    Prohibitionists especially the intelligentsia can’t imagine they were lied to and have been wrong all their lives

    Prohibitionists think that the Legalization crowd are the ones that are lying.

    Prohibitionists are afraid of legalization because when they don’t toke up with their friends; they will know that they were talking behind their backs and were Judgmental Condescendings

    Prohibitionists will say there are downsides to everything. “NAME THEM” I bet you can’t name any.

    Prohibitionists try and switch the topic to other drugs when they don’t have a leg to stand on when discussing pot.

    Prohibitionists think everyone that doesn’t agree with them is trolling

  4. Smoking pot is illegal in all 50 US states. Just because the state got rid of its laws doesn’t mean the feds did. I’m of the view that it should be legal everywhere – but saying that it *is* legal now in some states is just not correct.

    There must be many Federal laws that have no state counterpart. Would say its legal to sell nuclear weapons technology in WA simply because the state doesn’t outlaw it (assuming it doesn’t, you get my point).

  5. 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.