Have you noticed a more anemic YouTube subscription feed? If you follow marijuana channels, you probably have.
You might have also seen this ominous message: The channel’s content had been flagged for review and was found to violate YouTube’s guidelines.
That’s because, for the last month, the global video platform has engaged in a clandestine operation to shut down a ton of cannabis channels that they determined were promoting the use of weed.
Some showed cannabis growing techniques or shared the trials and tribulations of growing in one type of space—outdoor, indoor, greenhouse, etc. Most were merely informational videos, not featuring marijuana consumption. Many of these trusted channels had been around for years were affected.
Two years ago, Facebook famously shut down many cannabis-related accounts, but this was different. It’s not like YouTube to silence its content creators—even the drug-related ones—but its something that has been happening more and more lately. If a creator crosses one barrier or another, YouTube low-key edges them out.
The ban on some cannabis content echoes the recent shutdown of channels showing gun videos. In April, YouTube rep told the New York Times “While we’ve long prohibited the sale of firearms, we recently notified creators of updates we will be making around content promoting the sale or manufacture of firearms and their accessories.”
Now, it seems, YouTube is taking a similar approach to cannabis—with a liberal interpretation of what might constitute the “promotion” of marijuana. Even pretty innocent channels like Leafly and That High Couple were swept up in the shutdown. The two channels are back, but the founders received no explanation or apology.
Creators beware, Youtube could determine that your seemingly innocent videos featuring cannabis-related content violate their guidelines regarding illegal drug use—marijuana is still federally unlawful even if it’s legal in the country of the watcher.
Blame it on pressure from advertisers, but YouTube does have companies to answer to and viewers with conservative tastes or young kids. For now, bold and adventurous creators are heading to Instagram, Twitch and even Pornhub where the rules are a little looser and the sensibilities more adult.
Davie is a long time cannabis professional who has worked not only as a cultivator but in all aspects of retail cannabis. From budtender, to wholesale and retail management, and from harvester to advanced hydroponic specialist, Davie has been around the block more than once. Now residing in beautiful British Columbia, Davie now works with acres of greenhouses, producing some of the best buds in the country.