Big tech: the ultimate frontier? For cannabis, it might be. A big problem that cannabis companies face is the lack of legal validity of their messages on new media platforms. There have been countless instances of Big Tech companies cracking down on cannabis-focused companies. For example, Google explicitly states that its policy prohibits companies from placing ads on their platform. Additionally, Google doesn’t allow companies to use its platform for “substances that recreationally alter mental state or otherwise induce ‘highs’.” Yet the fact remains that Big Tech is hostile, if not opposed, to cannabis-related products.
But, fortunately, for many, many people, things are changing. Platforms are increasingly willing to accommodate cannabis-related businesses. For example, Apple changed its App Store review policies to make room for “legal cannabis.” dispensaries.” As a result, it no longer prohibits the sale of “controlled substances” to deliver cannabis-based medicines. The discrepancy between such a policy and the Google Play Store’s resolution not to “facilitate the sale of marijuana or marijuana products, regardless of legality” is glaring. But the good thing is that it is a gap that we are closing.
an amazing time
2021 has been a landmark year in developing Big Tech’s outlook to support the industry. Amazon has made a series of moves in the right direction, supporting the initiative. There have been monumental announcements made by the firm. In the June 2020 version of the “Update on Our Vision to be Earth’s Best Employer and Earth’s Safest Workplace,” the company proclaimed:
The standard drug testing The company’s policy was changed to ensure that it “will no longer include marijuana in our comprehensive drug testing program for all positions not regulated by the Department of Transportation.”
In another bold first for Big Tech, Amazon also expressed solidarity with the MORE Act Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement. The law represents lawmakers’ desire to “legalize marijuana federally, remove criminal records, and invest in affected communities.” Amazon hopes “more employers will join us and that policymakers will move quickly to pass the law.” In accordance with the policy change, Amazon expressed support for the proposed Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act in writing to Senators Wyden, Schumer and Booker.
Most important is the sincerity with which the company acts in accordance with its policy. For example, according to a disclosure, part of the $4.7 million in third quarter 2021 lobbying expenditures supported the mentioned legal reforms.
The importance of moves
To properly see the importance of development, we need to recognize that Amazon goes beyond just e-commerce of tangible goods. It is a leading technology company that powers much of the internet through its cloud computing products. Additionally, Amazon has a significant, if not maximum, footprint in many physical and digital products. It sells things like groceries, e-books, drug store streaming services and everything in between. In fact, experts predict that Amazon will sell cannabis products if allowed federally following its acquisition of virtual pharmacies.
The Reputation Risk Obstacle
Reputational risk is an important deciding factor in the functions of credit unions and banks. Consequently, many companies simply do not take the risk of offering banking services to cannabis industry to rule out any chance of being publicly labeled as a “weed bank”. The business moves of Apple and Amazon take on new importance in this light. This means that both companies are confident that welcoming cannabis businesses to their platforms does not pose reputational risk.
What this means for the future
Commercial companies fear not only negative consumer reactions, but also inconsistencies in federal policy. So having big tech companies push you forward is great reassuring news for cannabis companies to start a new year.
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