In what appears to be an effort to thwart cannabis advocacy, Twitter has recently collaborated with a federal drug agency to automatically promote substance abuse resources when users search “marijuana” and other keywords related to cannabis. Ironically, the social media platform doesn’t advance these resources for alcohol-related keywords.
The drug agency that’s involved with the program is the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). If you go onto Twitter right now and search “marijuana,” you’ll immediately be met with a message claiming “Help is available—if you or someone you know is struggling with substance use, you are not alone.”
Obviously, such actions by Twitter continue the stigma of cannabis as an addictive and dangerous substance. However, advocates are upset for more than just that.
By promoting SAMSHA’s message and treatment-related resources, Twitter is preventing relevant positive news and information about cannabis and it’s evolving industry from reaching mass audiences. Not to mention, public debates and voting legislation surrounding legalization.
Shame on Twitter for having this at the top of the “marijuana” search and not the “alcohol” search pic.twitter.com/m5B8t5xHYV
— 🦇 Becca (@beccaleeeeeee) September 15, 2020
While cannabis isn’t nearly as addictive as people once believed, promoting these resources isn’t necessarily problematic. It can be assumed that most who are educated enough on cannabis will simply ignore this propaganda.
Still, there is an obvious bias apparent on Twitter when it comes to cannabis and the businesses that have found this industry. In order to see this, all you need to do is search for alcohol-related content and you’re immediately bombarded with alcohol companies advertising their product.
Again, there’s nothing wrong with this—it’s the bias against cannabis that advocates have a problem with, especially when considering how much more harm alcohol causes in comparison to cannabis.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), three million people die from the use of alcohol every year. Yet even the Drug Enforcement Administration admits that “no deaths from overdose of marijuana have been reported.”
If Twitter wants to take these actions against cannabis – that’s their decision. However, being as they hold a huge influence over public information, they should provide equal reception for alcohol.