Petition calls for Instagram to stop ‘targeting’ cannabis industry

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With Canada just weeks away from recreational cannabis legalization, a petition is calling for Instagram to be more welcoming of the cannabis industry.

So far, more than 5,000 people have signed the petition, which was launched by Cannabess Byers.

“Today, legal cannabis producers, processors, retailers, ancillary businesses, advocates and influencers are all targeted by Instagram’s Terms of Service,” states the petition. “Pages are deactivated without warning, while Instagram provides zero transparency as to why. Years of work gets deleted at the click of a button.

“Instagram claims to foster community, while ours is targeted,” it adds. “The legal cannabis industry employs an estimated 165,000 people in the United States and Washington alone has generated $686 million in excise tax revenue since i502’s implementation. We aren’t a community of criminals. We are mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, entrepreneurs and even grandparents who make a legal living while contributing to the economy.”

Those behind the petition ask Instagram to update its Terms of Service to reflect changing cannabis laws.

“Stop targeting legal businesses, advocates and influencers,” the petition urges. “End the censorship and suppression of cannabis content. Allow pages to promote posts and be verified. Most importantly, we ask Instagram to provide greater transparency surrounding their Terms of Service.”

The petition notes that on Instagram’s release date October 6, 2010, only five states allowed medical cannabis consumption.

“As we approach Instagram’s eighth birthday, laws are changing. Currently nine states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational cannabis, and 30 states allow medicinal use. But it’s not just the US, legalization has gone global,” it notes.

“On July 1, 2018, Canada became the first G7 country to pass nationwide recreational laws. Even Mexico, Belize, Jamaica, Argentina, Colombia, Uruguay, Belgium, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Israel, Croatia, The Czech Republic and Australia have all passed medical, small possession or decriminalization legislation. It seems the only place legalization is not happening, is on Instagram.”

The petition says is Instagram doesn’t change its tune, the #cannabiscommunity hashtag will be “forced to take our 10.2 million hashtags to another platform.”

“Instagram, please do the right thing,” the petition concludes. “Update your Terms of Service, stop targeting cannabis content and allow our community to exist peacefully on your platform. Legalization is here to stay and we hope you will support our industry as we continue to grow.”

Click here to see the petition.