So what does that mean and what does this look like today? Federal law prohibits cannabis companies from soliciting customers on social media and some social media sites explicitly say in their policy, no illegal drug marketing with the intent to sell.
Social media outlets continue to delete accounts and content felt to have broken policy guidelines. The popular photo and video sharing app Instagram, has yet to make an official stance on marijuana, but its actions would say otherwise. Instagram actively deletes dispensaries, advocates, and consumers of marijuana, even as much so to cause a backlash from the cannabis industry.
Some pro marijuana advocates say that stifling the images and content is the same as stifling speech, which is the open platform beauty of social media.
Hindering speech is an entirely different concern than social norming youth. Youth are scientifically shown to be very susceptible to imagery and interpersonal influences (such as peers) that they encounter in their environment.
The pro social norming provides youth with the idea that one, marijuana is not harmful and two, everyone is doing it. This is both troubling and worrisome because marijuana has been proven to adversely affects the developmental process of youth’s brains.
No matter what side of the marijuana legalization side you may fall to, it should not be anyone’s intentions to let the pro marijuana culture provide an imagery and norming to our youth that marijuana is safe to use. If we allow this pro culture to become intertwined in the daily lives of our youth, we fail as a guardian and put the health of young generations to come at risk.
Social media sites such as Instagram have taken an active stand, a stance that all of us as whole society needs to consider. What are the lasting effects on youth from this pro marijuana culture? The more socially acceptable images youth are exposed to, the greater the risk they will lean towards marijuana use. Prevention is key to helping our youth live healthier lives.
Learn more about the active steps you can take towards educating our youth on the risks of marijuana.