Last Thursday, the FCC voted 3-2 to repeal net neutrality. This will allow internet providers to block, slow, or charge more to access certain websites. It removes all regulations currently in place to keep the internet equal in terms of speed and access to any and all ISP addresses.
There’s been a public outcry against this repeal with consumers and experts alike saying this is a violation of personal freedom. In Wired Magazine, it was described as “the difference between free and open online experience, and one where corporations dictate what you can see, and how fast you can see it.”
So, how does this affect the cannabis community? Well, a lot of companies depend on websites to get the word out about their products, and in some areas with legal cannabis, they use them for selling as well. The cannabis community uses the internet to promote awareness, research, and general information about the plant.
Soon these websites will be at the mercy of internet providers who could choose to slow or even block them simply for being associated with cannabis. Not only that but with the new framework, some websites may be shut down if what they’re doing is deemed federally illegal. Even online glass retailers could be in trouble.
Many have voiced their opposition loudly. In a letter to the FCC, more than 1,000 tech-startups called for net neutrality to be maintained. One portion of the letter reads “But the success of America’s startup ecosystem depends on more than improved broadband speeds. We also depend on an open Internet [sic]—including enforceable net neutrality rules that ensure big cable companies can’t discriminate against people like us.”
In addition, some are taking legal action. After the vote came through Washington, state Attorney General Rob Ferguson released a statement saying his office will be filing a legal challenge to the decision.
To voice your concerns, it’s best to go straight to the senators and house representatives. A simple phone call or email could be the difference between open internet access vs. corporate control.
Shasta Nelson is a California Native and a cannabis connoisseur. She's been involved in the industry at every level since she was a teenager. Currently she provides content for Roottie, DOPE Magazine, and Terpenes and Testing. She's also a creative writer, with a graphic novel underway.