Facebook relaxes anti-marijuana stance

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An internal company presentation hints at a lighter touch to marijuana

Facebook and Instagram (which are, for most purposes, the same) have maintained a hands-off approach to marijuana, putting virtually anything related to the topic on the chopping block as quickly as it is found. This could soon change, however, according to a presentation that was given to employees of the social media giant recently. If accurate, the sale of marijuana products could soon grace the pages of over 2 billion Facebook users.

According to the internal presentation, Facebook explains, “Our policies at the moment do not allow for the sale of marijuana on the platform. We want to consider whether we can loosen this restriction, especially in relation to medical marijuana, legal marijuana and brick and mortar stores.”

Facebook has reportedly created an internal working group to explore the options and to establish new rules if marijuana marketing makes it to the surface. The presentation adds, “Since marijuana faces different legal and social restrictions across the globe, this may be operationally challenging for us,” adding that the company “may encounter regional pushback in those areas of the world where the law or [society] views marijuana negatively.

Some marijuana searches have been allowed on the platform, but they have been restricted. Since October of last year, when Canada legalized recreational marijuana, Facebook began allowing certain advertising, but many otherwise legitimate pages, such as California’s Bureau of Cannabis control and news pages related to cannabis, were caught by Facebook’s filters.

Facebook isn’t ready to embrace marijuana sales through its social media channels yet, but every journey starts with one step and Facebook is taking baby steps to ensure it doesn’t step on any toes.