In Spring of 2018, YouTube began purging cannabis content from its pages seemingly out of nowhere. Accounts with fans numbering in the tens and even hundreds of thousands were suddenly shut down, their content removed with little to no explanation despite years of working within the framework of the platform’s guidelines. While many speculate that YouTube’s tougher stance on weed has to do improving the platform’s ad friendliness, it’s yet another example of the vulnerability that the cannabis industry still faces even as legalization continues to expand.
Because cannabis is still federally illegal, influencers looking to share their cultivation tips or showcase how weed helps with pain are operating in a gray area even if they live in a legal state. But while YouTube may be one of the most popular websites in the world, there are other options for cannabis influencers looking to rebuild their online presence.
The WeedTube was launched by cannabis vlogger Arend Lenderink, who lost his own channel – and all 199,000 of its followers – as a result of YouTube’s purge. This platform is all about weed and even though WeedTube is new, it’s already packed with tons of videos. Categories like Education, Health & Beauty, Growing/Gardening, Potcasts and LGBTQ make it easy to find captivating content while providing a welcome space for cannabis influencers.
WeedLife is a cannabis social media platform that has been around since officially launching in 2015 and is part of a network of websites and resources specifically targeting the cannabis industry. While WeedLife may not yet be as robust as YouTube when it comes to weed videos, its community shares lots of content ranging from unboxing reviews to documentaries to how-to’s, and much more.
Vimeo launched in 2004 as the first video sharing website to support high-definition video. It also hosts some pretty robust cannabis content. With a variety of cannabis-focused channels across a range of categories, and community guidelines that seem unfazed by weed’s Federal Schedule 1 status, Vimeo is a great option for cannabis influencers seeking a new home.
We have found an endless amount of cool weed content on Instagram (even blogged about our favorite cannabis growers to follow), and every day new channels embracing the cannabis lifestyle pop up. Be aware that their community guidelines clearly stipulate that buying or selling illegal or prescription drugs – even if those drugs are legal where you live – is not allowed.
Your Own Website
Many of those forced out of YouTube had their channels shut down before they could collect their video files, resulting in hours of hard work lost. Viewing this as a teachable moment, some influencers are using their own websites to host content and are even moving to a subscription model to monetize their efforts. Even if you prefer to use a 3rd party site to host and share your videos, keeping those files backed up on your own website means you can still access your content even if your channel gets shut down.
What other platforms are friendly to cannabis influencers? Let us know on Instagram!