In the past two weeks, Instagram disabled four accounts belonging to the legal cannabis-infused products company VCC Brands as well as a personal account belonging to the company’s publicist. Instagram has been targeting cannabis business accounts for quite some time now, but this is the first time an associate’s personal account has been shut down in the process.
The accounts, @VeniceCookieCo, @EvergreenHerbal, @CannabisQuencher and @420Bar had over 10,000 followers and contained content tied to legal, licensed cannabis-infused products businesses operating in Washington State and California. The oldest account, @VeniceCookieCo had been in use for nearly two years.
Several of the appeals on behalf of VCC were submitted by VCC’s publicist. The next time she attempted to log in to her personal IG account, she found it had also been disabled without warning or explanation. Her account contained four years of personal photos.
Last week, VCC principals were able to get in contact with Instagram through personal connections and are currently awaiting further information for both the business accounts and the publicist’s personal account. VCC has still received no response to the appeals submitted through Instagram’s standard appeals channel.
Many businesses operating in the multi-billion dollar legal cannabis industry use Instagram to build brand awareness and connect with fans. Like any other industry business, they are eager to make use of social media, but they are at risk of losing their accounts and followers without warning. This is not the first time Instagram has disabled the accounts of brands and businesses that operate legally in the cannabis space.
Lawfully operating cannabis businesses have proven that they are ready and eager to comply with regulations and a legal structure. The question now seems to be, will social media platforms, like Instagram, allow them to get on board? Or will cannabis-related business have to roll the dice when they choose to use certain social media platforms?
Below are photos that appeared on the IG feeds of @VeniceCookieCo, @EvergreenHerbal, @CannabisQuencher and @420Bar.