The week that legal sales began in Massachusetts, several dispensaries in the state found out that their accounts were banned from Instagram. Cultivate, a Leicester, Massachusetts dispensary that became one of the first two to begin legal sales, said on the very day they began selling recreational cannabis, their Instagram was deleted.
And this isn't a case of these dispensaries starting Instagram accounts for the launch of legal sales and immediately getting banned. Cultivate had used Instagram for months to help connect with customers when they were a medical-only dispensary. But for some reason the day recreational sales began, they were banned.
A spokesperson for Instagram noted that in their terms of service, they do not allow accounts to promote the sale of drugs, regardless of whether they are legal. And they said this is true of all states.
“Our policy prohibits any marijuana seller, including dispensaries, from promoting their business by providing contact information like phone numbers or street addresses,” the spokesperson said. “Because of the borderless nature of our respective communities, we try to enforce our policies as consistently as possible.”
The Instagram spokesperson said that accounts are allowed to promote marijuana legalization causes, they simply cannot promote the sale of cannabis.
So perhaps the fact that these dispensaries were promoting that legal recreational marijuana sales had begun was the reason Instagram decided to ban them.
But if the sales are legal in Massachusetts, why does Instagram care? Yes, marijuana may be illegal in other states, but people would still need to travel to Massachusetts, where it's legal, to purchase products from these dispensaries.
Just another reason why we need to legalize cannabis federally.