The upcoming Oct. 17 legalization of recreational marijuana usage in Canada has resulted in a much farther reaching impact than the opening of new storefronts.
From changes to how Canadians travel to an impending shakeup of the beverage industry, marijuana legalization has managed to effect a huge range of products and services – including social media outlets.
Prior to this weekend, anyone searching for the term “marijuana” through Facebook’s search function would find limited results, and none of those results would come from actual retailers of recreational or medical marijuana.
According to an exclusive new report from MarketWatch, that policy of filtering out relevant marijuana search results is now ending.
While the policy change is directly tied to the Cannabis Act legalizing marijuana in Canada, Facebook users anywhere in the world will reap the benefits.
Facebook spokesperson Sarah Pollack issued this emailed statement to MarketWatch:
“We are constantly working to improve our search results so that we minimize the opportunity for people to attempt illicit drug sales while showing content that is allowed on Facebook and is relevant to what you are searching. When searching ‘cannabis’ or ‘marijuana,’ Pages that have been verified for authenticity will now be included in search results.”
That updated policy means pages featuring either the grey or blue Facebook verification badges will now appear in search results.
According to the MarketWatch report, that change will primarily affect Canadian government entities such as the Ontario Cannabis Store, as well as a handful of non-government entities such as the nonprofit advocacy group Marijuana Policy Project.
While you can currently find either of those organizations on Facebook by directly searching for their names, you wouldn’t previously see them in filtered results when searching for either “cannabis” or “marijuana.”
Marijuana Policy Project spokesperson Mason Tvert commented on the change:
“It’s about time that Facebook caught up with the majority of Americans who think that marijuana should be treated like a legal product.”
Mason went on to add, “A growing majority of Americans think that marijuana should be legal, and a growing number of countries and states are making it legal. I think it’s a great development and a wise move by Facebook as it’s trying to reconnect with the online community that it has turned off in so many ways.”