A cannabis-focused internet video streaming platform has launched an anti-censorship campaign.
The petition also calls for Instagram to update its Community Guidelines so that legally-operating cannabis businesses receive equal treatment.
WeedTube aims to gather at least 1,000,000 signatures for the petition and encourages all cannabis industry professionals and enthusiasts to sign.
“We hope this petition can start a dialogue between Instagram and the legal cannabis industry,” says WeedTube Co-Founder Richard Arend. “To develop best practices so that we can promote our businesses in a safe and professional manner.”
The Rise of WeedTube
WeedTube manifested after YouTube’s crackdown on cannabis-related channels.
YouTube took down Arend’s 200,000-subscriber channel in 2018 because of cannabis content.
The takedown was a principal factor in Arend’s advocacy for ending online cannabis censorship.
A group of content creators affected by YouTube’s cannabis purge crowdfunded the cannabis-friendly WeedTube and launched it on March 1, 2018.
WeedTube’s petition urges Instagram leadership to join a roundtable discussion with cannabis industry experts to discuss updating the platform’s policies and regulations to provide a fair and equal opportunity to the rapidly growing industry.
WeedTube points out that while cannabis is legal for adult use in 18 states and medicinal use in 36 states, Instagram still suspends and deletes licensed cannabis company pages for violating their vague and outdated policy.
The policy prohibits attempts by individuals, manufacturers, and retailers to purchase, sell, or trade cannabis.
WeedTube says Instagram does not enforce the policy equally, allowing large multi-state corporations to promote products, services, and locations while small independent operators lose their Instagram pages.
In 2022, WeedTube says Instagram pages are essential marketing tools.
Instagram took down WeedTube’s page for the second time in November 2021.