420 with CNW – Facebook Lifts Ban on Marijuana Searches Ahead of Canadian Cannabis Legalization

October 17, 2018 03:20:46

While the U.S. customs authorities may be unsure about how to respond once recreational marijuana becomes legal in Canada, social media giant Facebook has taken the step to stop preventing search results from showing in case a user is looking for cannabis pages, articles and organizations, among other kinds of related content.

Facebook has been filtering out any search results connected to cannabis for more than a year. This action was in line with the platform’s rules that barred illegal products and substances from being traded or trafficked using the platform.

That is now bound to change as Facebook users from around the globe will now be able to access marijuana-related content using the search feature of the platform.

However, there will be a condition to accessing cannabis information. Only verified pages, personalities and organizations will be listed in the search results.

Facebook currently has two signs of verification, a blue and grey verification mark. The blue mark is reserved for brands, media companies and public figures. Other verified cannabis accounts or pages will have the grey verification mark.

The verification process starts with the marijuana business giving Facebook a phone number which is listed publicly. The social media platform then makes an automated call to that number and the receiver is expected to enter a 4-digit code once he or she is prompted to do so during the phone call.

Previously, government marijuana dispensaries, advocacy agencies and other organizations could not be found on Facebook due to the restrictions designed into the search algorithm of the social media platform.

The changes in the laws of different countries and states has motivated the change of heart at Facebook in order to enable Facebook users to access marijuana content without any undue limitations.

It is worth remembering at this point that marijuana video content could be accessed even when the restrictions on cannabis were in force. The algorithm changes being rolled out will have no effect on access to such video content.

The move by Facebook has been welcomed by cannabis advocacy groups, such as Marijuana Policy Project, who said that it was long overdue for the social media platform to change how it regards marijuana.

Many polls show that the public wants marijuana to be decriminalized, and many jurisdictions have passed laws permitting marijuana use for either medical or recreational purposes. Facebook and other platforms should therefore start looking at marijuana favorably since it is now legal in many countries or jurisdictions. Cannabis Strategic Ventures, Inc. (OTC: NUGS) and Canopy Rivers Inc. (TSX.V: RIV) must be pleased by the change made by Facebook.

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