People who sell medical and recreational cannabis in states where it’s legal have become accustomed to seeing their social media pages go dark unexpectedly. Selling or using cannabis for any reason is still federally illegal, and companies like Facebook, Google, Instagram, and Apple remain wary of being held liable for the pot content they allow users to post and promote.
But in the effort to prove they are not enabling the sale or promoting the recreational use of cannabis, Facebook and Google are also haphazardly censoring promotions for all kinds of other marijuana-related content, including news stories about racial disparities in pot arrests, links to sites selling legal paraphernalia, ads for TV shows and books about cannabis, and pages that provide information about the law. BuzzFeed News also found that small businesses seem to be disproportionately affected by inconsistencies in the enforcement of these policies, while larger and more mainstream companies advertising the same content remain unaffected.
A few weeks ago, prominent Denver cannabis law firm Vicente Sederberg posted a link to a Colorado Public Radio story following up on a story initially reported by BuzzFeed News, about a state report showing that after Colorado legalized recreational use in 2012, marijuana arrests decreased among white adolescents but dramatically increased among blacks and Latinos.
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