Dixie Elixirs, a cannabis product producer, is just one of the latest pot related business to have its Facebook page shut down. Joe Hodas of Dixie Elixirs says their Facebook page, which had 11,000 followers, completely vanished. Facebook offered little explanation, simply displaying a notification that read “We remove any promotion or encouragement of drug use.”
There have reportedly been dozens or even hundreds of similar page shutdowns. Cannabis related companies that operate legally within their respective states have lost thousands of followers—which in some cases took years to develop.
“Facebook and Instagram were critical for us from a marketing perspective and for keeping in touch with our customers,” said Hodas, director of marketing at Dixie Elixirs. “It really cuts off an arm, so to speak.”
The seemingly random account suspensions have stripped legitimate cannabis-related businesses of important advertising and marketing tools that business owners and industry advocates utilize.
But with this rash of page suspensions, new and innovative social network sites tailored specifically to the cannabis culture are cropping up. The pot industry is expected to generate upwards of $6.7 billion in the U.S. this year alone and has the potential to grow into a $21.8 billion industry by 2020.
MassRoots (ticker MSRT) is one of the cannabis-centric social networking sites that allow users and companies to create profiles, follow trending news, share media, and most importantly, advertise. MassRoots currently has over 700,000 users, whether or not all those users are engaged is a mystery, but it’s still a large network.
Though MassRoots was among the first to market a pot-friendly social network, it’s not alone. Also new to the scene is an all inclusive social networking site BudHubz, which is currently populating its website and apps for IOS & Android devices. BudHubz, “The Social weedia™ Company” allows users, called “Buddies,” to create profiles and connect with other Buddies around the world, allowing them to connect with Budtenders at dispensaries, doctors, and even 420-friendly travel accommodations. They have created a unique eco-system where users can search everything from strains, activities, and products via hashtag. The Apps & site work on user driven content and reviews much like Yelp, Uber, and even Airbnb, while providing businesses with metrics & back end support for their businesses.
Another social app called Social High allows people to build a social circle with friends and connect with new ones that share the same passion for cannabis you do. Review strains, discuss medicinal breakthroughs, share your personal experiences, discover events in your area and connect with fellow bud connoisseurs.
Many in the industry see this as a critical time for legal U.S. cannabis companies to demand that the broader technology industry take them seriously—as legitimate businesses and as a collective multi-billion dollar market. With the coming expansion of the Cannabis industry as new states pass medical & recreational marijuana laws there will be a serious need for infrastructure support, advertising and brand awareness. Private companies like Budhubz & Social High are well positioned to fill niches and offer consumers unique information, they are also private start-ups offering people gun shy by the public markets opportunities to capitalize on the Green Rush.
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