The Blacklist is an online platform and popular Instagram account that houses user-generated content about the cannabis industry. The Blacklist allows users to post the good, the bad, and the very ugly. The Blacklist’s Instagram has garnered over 128,000 followers as they post a consistent stream of hot cannabis stories, opening a discussion between their followers.
Candid Chronicle connected with the minds behind The Blacklist to discuss their work within the cannabis industry.
The Blacklist describes themselves and their mission as, “Evolving with the industry… to cultivate a clean and consistent cannabis community,” as well as supporting “Clean medicine and good business practice.”
Initially, The Blacklist, a group of anonymous cannabis advocates, put the platform together as a way to hold disreputable characters in the cannabis industry accountable.
In The Blacklist’s words, “With a growing legal cannabis industry in its infancy, there were no checks and balances for employees in the cannabis industry. With cannabis making the shift from the black market into the legal space, the industry inherited many of the “bad actors” from the black market. There was no way to find out if the person you had just hired had been involved in a crime or had worked as CI in prior engagements. The Blacklist was originally created as a reputation resource.”
Users can submit stories on The Blacklist’s website, whether the story is airing out a company that is selling tainted vape cartridges, exposing a known thief in the cannabis industry, or somewhere in between.
The Blacklist admin noticed that the user-submitted content began to veer from industry reputation submissions towards cannabis news stories, such as bad business practices amongst cannabis companies.
Aside from protecting their own anonymity, The Blacklist protects its users by not storing identifying data such as IP addresses. The website has become a relatively safe place for users to blow the whistle on companies that are violating employee rights, state regulations, or the like.
“For an individual to be anonymous online in today’s internet climate is virtually impossible,” says The Blacklist.
“We feel the privacy of those that submit anonymous stories is critical, but more importantly we have a great responsibility to our community and upholding the trust the community grants us, has been our cornerstone,” explains The Blacklist.
They continued that they’ve been successful in maintaining their own anonymity because “We are a team of people and we do not push an agenda.”
What is the biggest shift in the industry that you have seen since creating The Blacklist?
The Blacklist: The biggest shift we have seen is consumers asking questions about the products they are smoking. Before legalization and lab testing was available, nobody questioned anything. You smoked what you friends had or you can get. Nowadays the consumer treads are moving towards verification, authenticity and safe, meaning lab tested.
Did you expect The Blacklist to take off like this?
The Blacklist: There was a real need, and The Blacklist was created to bridge that gap during such a pivotal time. No, it’s not surprising that we have grown with the industry, but I don’t think anyone could anticipate the level of impact we have had though.
How does it feel to have so much community support for a platform you provide?
The Blacklist: It’s truly humbling, but the respect goes right back to the community. We are a user-generated content platform, so we don’t necessarily provide a voice, but rather a megaphone for the consumer. In effect, the voice of the people has been an “X-factor” in shaping the standards of the industry moving forward. Each one of our posts creates discussion, but engagement is a testament to the community. We like to say the truth is in the comments. Our platform consists of both sides of the cannabis knowledge spectrum and this creates an invaluable opportunity for education across the board, which is vital.
What has been your most impactful post?
The Blacklist: It’s so difficult to pinpoint one post that stands apart, but if we had to choose one, the hardest hitting post was the Lowell Cannabis Cafe of West Hollywood Yelp reviews. This post turned into an all-day event and captivated the entire industry. What set it apart was it exposed a clear weakness in the cannabis industry today, ego-driven public relations. Lowell responded to the accusation that they had spread the herpes virus with their smoking hardware at the restaurant. They responded to the grave concerns expressed by the offended party, with a meme that shamed her publicly. The community responded by flooding Lowell Cafe’s page with reports, and by roughly 10 pm Instagram had taken the page offline for review. Lowell Cafe got a good laugh at a girl’s expense, at the cost of their dignity, and they did it for the world to see. The community held them accountable, and that’s the way it’s supposed to be. We did reach out to Lowell to offer the reach of our platform to respond professionally but the message was never answered.
Despite companies like Lowell being perturbed by The Blacklist’s content, the anonymous group can’t be served a cease and desist. By limiting theblacklistxyz.com to user-generated content, The Blacklist is able to forego legal liabilities for the content published on the site.
The Blacklist does remove content from their site, under certain circumstances.
What types of content do you remove?
The Blacklist: We typically don’t remove content, however, some content doesn’t get posted because certain information is protected by laws and social media platform terms and conditions. Our platform encourages all fairness, the stories we put out are up for discussion and we strive to tell both sides of the story given the opportunity. It’s important to us that if we find that content has been falsified we remove it.
What advice do you have for people getting into the cannabis industry?
The Blacklist: To business owners that are venturing into the cannabis industry. Focus on one thing and do it really well, be mindful of your spending and the people managing your money, learn from the mistakes made by those that come before you, and most importantly follow The Blacklist.