To Be Blunt

077 Cannabis Social Media Censorship and What We Can Do About It with Ariana Newton of The WeedTube

November 29, 2021 Shayda Torabi Season 2 Episode 77
To Be Blunt
077 Cannabis Social Media Censorship and What We Can Do About It with Ariana Newton of The WeedTube
Show Notes Transcript

“That's [social media] where you grow your communities. And that's where you showcase your brand and kind of give people behind the scenes of what your products are and who you are so that they can have a better trusting relationship with you.” -  Ariana Newton

Welcome back to the To Be Blunt podcast! In this episode, Shayda Torabi welcomes WeedTube Executive Ariana Newton to dive into social media censorship, creatively targeting the barriers to entry, and the strategies to use to beat the system despite the uneven playing ground.


[00:01 – 09:06] Targeting Barriers to Entry through Social Media Profiling

[09:07– 14:56] The Shift to the Online Arena for Trusting Relationships

[14:57 – 17:58] The Origin, Mysteries, and Rules of Social Media Censorship

[17:59 – 20:20] Creative Strategies to Outsmart the System

[20:21 – 32:04] Censorship Issues Resulting to Flagging and Banning

[32:05 – 40:41] Affiliate Marketing in the Realm of Cannabis Brand Awareness

[40:42 – 01:02:07] Scaling in the Content Creation Journey on an Uneven Playing Ground

[01:02:08 – 01:04:56] Food for Thought: How do you keep up the fight to educate?


WeedTube Executive Ariana Newton is a marketing expert in the cannabis censorship space; as a medical cannabis patient in Montana, Ariana is passionate about the plant and its healing effects, but knows firsthand that sites like Instagram and YouTube don’t see it that way. As the Business Relations Officer for WeedTube, Ariana has seen firsthand how big social sites minimize the efforts of cannabis creators, like WeedTube's #Canna4Climate environmental effort, and she wants to educate the cannabis community on the censorship taking place.

Connect with Ariana

Visit and follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn @theweedtube


Shayda Torabi has been called one of the most influential Women in WordPress and now she’s one of the women leading the cannabis reformation conversation building one of Texas’ premier CBD brands. She's currently the CEO and Co-Founder of RESTART CBD, a female-run education first CBD wellness brand. And has formerly held marketing positions at WP Engine and WebDevStudios. Shayda is the host of a podcast for cannabis marketers called To Be Blunt, where she interviews top cannabis brands on their most successful marketing initiatives. When Shayda's not building her cannabiz in Texas, you can find her on the road exploring the best hikes and spots for vegan ice cream. Follow Shayda at @theshaydatorabi

Key Quote:

“As we continue to be censored, you're only going to see more people be creative.” - Shayda Torabi

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Ariana Newton  0:00  
So imagine it's 2018 cannabis on YouTube is I wouldn't say poppin. But it is a community of people. And there are a couple channels that are growing very fast because this is new content that consumers are taking in. Whether that be something educational, a brand unboxing, maybe a challenge kind of was all over the place, but doing that affiliate marketing with these YouTubers. And so when YouTube went through, and we refer to it as the cannabis purge of 2018, they purged hundreds of cannabis content channels. And these creators had garnered huge communities of people. And they're like, where do we find your content? How can we connect with you? Patreon existed, there was another platform at the time to where it was kind of like a different model that maybe they could get away with Twitch really wasn't in play. So they got together and they crowdfunded and started a WordPress page. And that was kind of the origins of it.

Announcer  1:06  
You're listening to to be blunt, be podcast for cannabis marketers. Were your host Shayda Torabi and her guests are trailblazing the path to marketing, educating and professionalizing cannabis light one up and listen up. Here's your host Shayda Torabi. Hello, everybody

Shayda Torabi  1:30  
and welcome back to another episode of The to be blunt Show. I'm your host Shayda Torabi, cannabis business owner and brand marketer. And I want to kick this episode off by taking a moment to reflect on this past weekend. Whether you were able to celebrate with your friends and family or not, I hope the sentiment of the holiday did not get lost on you and you took some time to practice gratitude and thankfulness. Personally speaking, I try to reflect on what I'm grateful for on a daily basis, it's a great way to frame what is both in my control, as well as what is working while also appreciating the things I have, versus dwelling on what I may not have. I'm super thankful for my family who shows up to support me physically and emotionally as we run our family brand, restart CBD. But I'm also really thankful for y'all for every single listener who tunes in to learn from this podcast, I really thank you for helping me grow, to be blunt into what it is today. Without my incredible guests and incredible audience, it would just be me with a microphone. And while that might be fine, the community of education we're creating is much more rewarding for me. And for that I have all the fields and all the gratitude. So thank you again. Now turning to today's episode, this is a topic that I'm sure has crossed your brain at some point. Certainly more frequent. For some of us, myself included, but we are diving into social media censorship. I'm no stranger to social media. I've built myself a good audience on Instagram and have profiles on the major social media networks. I view social media as a love hate, especially as we have the advancement of the metaverse on the horizon, everything is pushing us towards a more digitally connected world, which is great, I can honestly say I've made friends online first. And that's just one small positive that social media has provided in my life. Not to mention the ability to connect nationally and globally, get information in real time and create niche audiences around our personal passions and topics. Where it gets challenging is for cannabis brands and business owners who want to use social media to market their products and services. There isn't a ton of rhyme or reason as to why being on social media is more challenging for our industry. But a few of my high level observations are one, it has to do with the platform as being a closed platform, meaning the company can censor whatever they want. Even though some of us are selling a federally legal product like hemp, and to the lack of restrictions for children on these platforms. And the last thing that they want is for us to be selling drugs to children. I know it really doesn't make sense. Sometimes it feels like these platforms pick and choose who they shut down and for what reasons and even if there was a magic list of what you could avoid. I personally feel like the rules are constantly changing without warning. So it's always a best rule of thumb to be cautious, but at the same time these Are the platforms our community and consumers are on, which is why today's topic is so relevant and timely, especially getting into the holiday season where you see so many advertisements to buy this or to shop there. As an industry, we have to be creative and also aware of the barriers to entry we might face. We have to prepare ourselves to be shadow banned to have our content flagged and ultimately have our accounts shut down. So today's guest is weed tube executive and business relations officer Ariana Newton. She's a marketing expert in the cannabis censorship space, and she sees firsthand how big social media sites minimize the efforts of cannabis creators. I personally love talking to Ariana she is very knowledgeable and has a good understanding of the landscape, what it's like to be a creator on these platforms, what it's like to be a business working with creators on these platforms. We talk about advertising, Shadow banning affiliate networking and all the other kind of nuances and opportunities that we would like to play in as a cannabis brand or business owner or content creator, but also the flip side of what the reality is of kind of navigating those things in this industry. So let's dive right into this hot topic and welcome Ariana to the show.

Ariana Newton  6:30  
My name is Ariana Newton, I work with weed tube as a business relations and Brand Officer. So it's really exciting to be able to champion a platform that is out here, supporting cannabis and supporting cannabis content creators and really trying to curate a global perspective of what cannabis is. But along with that, I'm just your typical cannabis advocate. I'm an artist. I'm a pseudoscience, I'm super into kind of the era of social media on the psyche. And so content creating and being in this space has just kind of always gone hand in hand for me and I kind of fell into this area of consulting a little bit on the front of cannabis and what it means to be a cannabis business on social media and growing your audience on these platforms that are kind of critical, currently, or we're shifting into this online arena as you own a brand. And it can be super stressful for small business owners and people that are just getting started. So yeah, I do a little bit of everything. But I just really am here to champion the plant and the artistic properties as well as a creator.

Shayda Torabi  7:37  
Hell yeah, no, I am super excited for this conversation. I think it's very timely. I mean, you kind of teed it up a little bit, obviously, as a small business owner as anybody operating in the 21st century. Being online is like second nature, you don't even think about it. Like if I meet somebody, and I'm like, what's your Instagram and they don't have an Instagram, I'm like, that must be really nice. Like why like, how do you operate? How do you stay connected, especially as a business owner, even if I want to not be social online, I still might have a business profile that I need to stay active, obviously, connecting with my customers giving them educational content. There's the entertainment, you know, factor of content creation and being on these platforms. And especially with the announcement of Facebook, Instagram, Mehta, whatever they're gonna call themselves kind of championing in this continuous virtual profile lifestyle, like digital is not going anywhere.

Ariana Newton  8:34  
And for the cannabis community, especially not and I can attest to that, growing up in Montana and trying to figure out plant medicine, it was super difficult. I turned to the internet, I turned to online. And those were the people that I was initially engaging with to learn about this plant and learn about what was going on. So it's been like this for years now where kind of some of this information is so I don't want to say like underground or anything, but it can be hard to access when you're a new consumer, or you're trying to find people that are in your wheelhouse of consumption. So yeah, I'm right on the same page with you there.

Shayda Torabi  9:07  
Yeah, definitely finding people that you can kind of learn from and also be related to, to walk you through, I think, kind of at a high level to kick things off. We as a brand, do leverage all the kind of main social media platforms. It's a love hate relationship, right? It's like, I know that there's a chance that my contacts gonna get flagged, kicked off, my account will get shut down whatever the case may be. But I also have those platforms because that's to me, like the general consumer is and so that's kind of the default, oh, my God, I got to play on these platforms, because what other options do I have? Right?

Ariana Newton  9:43  
That's where you grow your communities. And that's where you showcase your brand and kind of give people behind the scenes of what your products are and who you are so that they can have a better trusting relationship with you. It's just, it's very much like that almost like 101 Now for most brands, no, it really is. It's not The same for cannabis.

Shayda Torabi  10:01  
Like you really unfortunately don't get to play in the same realm as other small business owners, which is so unfortunate because obviously, like when you kind of high level up lifted up to just marketing, every marketer today is talking about the importance of being on all these different social platforms, what are best practices? How do you kind of link your accounts together if you're doing e commerce, so you can sell educational content, leveraging influencer marketing, and then it's like, but only if you aren't in these fringe kind of quote unquote, industries, cannabis being a part of that. And so it really creates an interesting dynamic that I don't think people who are trying to be in the cannabis industry really fully comprehend, it still seems really mysterious, which is why I'm really excited to talk to you because you represent a company that has almost like created the safe space online for cannabis content creators and for cannabis consumers to consume content that is uncensored, really? And yeah, can you share with us? And I'll kind of make the juxtaposition to weed tube it sounds like YouTube. It's a video platform for the most part from my understanding. But where did that come from? Why that platform and just kind of lay the foundation for us to understand how we tube is helping change the landscape for cannabis content online?

Ariana Newton  11:23  
Yes, absolutely. So that's perfect. We can kind of do a little flashback here. So imagine it's 2018 cannabis on YouTube is I wouldn't say poppin. But it is a community of people. And there are a couple channels that are growing very fast, because this is new content that consumers are taking in, whether that be something educational, a brand unboxing, maybe a challenge kind of was all over the place. But there were a lot of influencers at the time doing affiliate marketing, which we can kind of jump into later a little bit and kind of some of the problematic aspects, but doing that affiliate marketing with these YouTubers. And so when YouTube went through, and we refer to it as the cannabis purge of 2018, they purged hundreds of cannabis content channels. And these creators had garnered huge communities of people. And they're like, where do we find your content? How can we connect with you Patreon existed, there was another platform at the time to where it was kind of like a different model that maybe they could get away with Twitch really wasn't in play. So they got together. And they crowdfunded and started a WordPress page. And that was kind of the origins of it. And so from there, the community really wanted a mobile app, obviously, the convenience was key. And that's expensive, but they were willing to kind of figure it out and do it. So they upgraded, they basically created their own user interface design technology, got off the WordPress page, and then launched both of the apps in 2019. There were quite a few issues with that as well. Apple rejected us right away. And Android actually accepted us at first and then took us off later. But we thought it we got into both app stores, we're not selling anything where we have no plant touching, association. So there really was no issue we just got swept up because of our name. We were able to find all that we worked with a lot of bigger publications Rolling Stone, Bloomberg, when they reach out for comment, we always kind of end up getting some of our stuff back. It's a fun dynamic to kind of run in that world. But yeah, so we tube was really just curated out of this space of necessity for these content creators, and now has grown into something I think, bigger than any of them ever anticipated from this global network standpoint of they are serving the community across the whole world, this the safe space, and it was cool as well, along the way that we're finding ways to monetize the platform for creators, then the cannabis advertising, the pre roll commercials and banner ads and things like that just kind of stemmed naturally from it. And we were able to be a safe space for cannabis advertisers. So it kind of just spun from one thing into the next. And now here we are.

Shayda Torabi  13:59  
No, that's so remarkable. And I have used weed too. My sister started a channel, she hasn't really done anything with it. But she released a couple videos that are on weed tube that I laugh at. And I appreciate that she uploaded them there. But it was kind of coming in approaching it from the same mentality. And before we started recording, and my listeners know this, I'm very active on social media and I take the ownership as that content creator willingly knowing how I'm being on these platforms, these platforms are not super friendly to me. But what really option do I have? And so obviously, knowing that specific platforms that are embracing cannabis, or I should say maybe not embracing cannabis, you'll obviously explicitly embrace cannabis. It's in the name, but you see where there's platforms where maybe more open to non more fringe kind of industry stuff. And so it's like, well, we're not pro cannabis. We're just not anti cannabis. And it's a huge distinction to some of these platforms, people like, what does Instagram really say? And I think people don't really understand kind of where this all stems from And this is just my perspective. I'm curious of your perspective. I think that a lot of the censorship comes from ultimately selling to children. And because there's no age verification on these platforms, people can log on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and they can see content or maybe perhaps be served ads that are not appropriate for children. And it's promoting drugs to children. And so I got pletely

Ariana Newton  15:26  
agree, and that's why tick. That's also why tick tock is the way it is there's no way to control that and the platform is so useful. And that's kind of why they're just like, right away.

Shayda Torabi  15:38  
It feels like there's no consistencies either. So I'm curious. One, I'm glad that I'm kind of on the same approach. Because again, I think even if you come from a marketing background, and you understand digital media and social media, there still is so much mystery to cannabis, just trying to understand why certain things are getting flagged, like people always ask me about my content. I mean, this is my podcast. So I can be as blunt as I want to be. But honestly speaking, I push the boundaries of these platforms, because I'm the content creator, and I'm willingly making that decision. It's a double edged sword, because it's like, playing on these platforms can get you in trouble. But then that's like, where sometimes the consumer or the customer is. So it's like, well, I'm going to try to learn the rules as best as possible. I'm going to try to not break the rules. But there's also no telling what Instagram is going to do with my content. And so I know every platform is somewhat a shift of what the rules are. But I'm curious, from your perspective, kind of what are the top things that you see that are maybe like no knows to do on these platforms that these platforms are like, Yeah, we don't want you to do this on us. But maybe on we to y'all obviously embrace it and allow content creators to do that.

Ariana Newton  16:51  
Absolutely. Yeah, no, the first thing, the biggest thing, obviously, were stationed more for long form content, we are kind of building out to become more of a friendly hub to all forms of content, but that'll take some time. But so the biggest thing I would say right away there is YouTube, you can't link directly in your YouTube channel. That is one of the easiest way to get like flagged. If you're working with a company or a partner, or even just you linking your YouTube channel, or even typing on Instagram, sometimes the DMS it will filter your message or it will be like not able to send. So the biggest key with YouTube I think is linking in your comments. You can pretty much get away with linking anything in your comments so far, we found so that is kind of a helpful tip with YouTube, Instagram and things though I've run into the same issue. Like you said, I always tried to push the boundaries and the second eye tags on a product from someone or say you could get this here. Even if I phrase it in the most specific way they will pick up on it. So the biggest thing is just being so ambiguous about what is going on, but still trying to let your audience in a little. It's such an interesting line to ride for sure. But yeah,

Shayda Torabi  17:58  
well, I feel like these companies are obviously getting smarter too. So I think like an emerging word for weed is now Oh, you ID which I'm not gonna lie. When I first started seeing it, I was like, What are these? What does that even say? What does that spelling and like, you have to kind of catch on to it to understand but now I imagine these platforms are also catching on to that word. And so it's like, no longer can you use hashtag a weed like

Ariana Newton  18:25  
it was a weed was a huge thing on Tik Tok for a while that was really getting, like, Sidestep, it was a great sidestep for a lot of creators. And then they started picking up on that, because we actually we redirect from a weed to calm as well. We have a lot of different. We have a lot of different redirects. It's kind of fun. We have a lot of new ones coming out. That's kind of like a play off the alcohol industry. So I haven't we haven't really released or announced it yet. But I think it'd be kind of fun to talk about here. But yeah, having these links that can be redirected, since there are no strict policies with alcohol advertising, being able to link your channel back to alcohol tube, or tequila tube or something fun, like that might be ways to kind of beat these other social media platforms at their own game. So stuff like that. It's fun. It's super creative. But yeah, the linking issue is just ridiculous. They give us a feature and then they just they start ripping it away from people.

Shayda Torabi  19:23  
That's exactly I was gonna go into I mean, especially for like a small business hat on I often get prompted by Facebook. Hey, do you want to link your products to your Facebook page? I'm like, Yes, I would love to take advantage of this tool that you make available to other businesses. But because I sell hemp, which is federally legal, I get roped into, sorry, that's questionable. We don't know what you're selling and you can't use this feature. And so obviously that snowballs into so many other aspects of being on these social media platforms, and I mean, I guess to like, dumb it down a little bit. We're all talking about you get censored on these platforms. So what is His censorship and kind of what are some of the different faces that takes on like shadow banning is one, I guess also kinda like a version of that question be what are the different degrees of censorship? Like content getting flagged content getting taken down accounts getting shut off? What is the reality of you getting those accounts back? Like kind of totally some of that for us? Yeah, absolutely.

Ariana Newton  20:22  
So from personal experience working with we tubes page, they've been shadow banned for goodness ever. Now, it wasn't always that way. It was kind of similar. In the beginning of 2018, Instagram was still not doing a lot of censorship for cannabis content, there were a lot of creators that would get easily 40,000 50,000 views in a matter of minutes on their content as newer creators to the platform. With YouTube's page, though, we've been taken down we've been removed, there's not really much of a secure way to get it back. Unless, someone there's multiple content creators who have come out online who has talked about this on his YouTube page, how he was paying someone behind the doors, in Instagram, each time his page went down, to bring it back up, and that person got fired. It was a whole, there's these little schemes that go on for sure. But it was interesting. And we tubes case, we actually had our PR firm, kind of reach out and talk about the censorship issue and how we got removed. And it wasn't until Bloomberg contacted Instagram for a comment that we got our page back later that day, they never commented back, but something flagged the system for them to check in. And so it really, there's no secure way to do it. It's either you kind of know and in or you haven't in or you're just kind of stuck with the Instagram back and forth of trying to get your page back as a small creator, which is not being a little bit bigger, having a page that has over 100k or even 50k you have a better chance at like trying to find a way to talk to Instagram as a smaller creator. I feel like you just get washed in the mix. And I've experienced that as well trying to take pictures of my concentrates take pictures of my bud. There's so many pictures out there on Instagram, but for some reason mine were getting flagged. And I think it's just one of those things that once you're targeted, you're kind of just you're or shadow banned, you're thrown into that loop of consistent, they're always monitoring you in that way. So

Shayda Torabi  22:12  
I don't disagree. I want you to explain a little bit to what shadow banning is. And before you explain it, I'll kind of give a little personal story. When I started creating content on Instagram, I use Instagram as my primary place again, I think depending on what kind of content you create, I just don't like videos. I don't like editing videos. It's like two minutes on YouTube. Yeah, it's like super easy. So when Instagram was like, we're gonna do videos on like, oh, how do I do reels, but it's a little bit different. I'm trying to play around with it. But I started out as a food blogger, Instagram loves food, great posts, your food content, my account was growing, that I was in the accident, I transitioned my content to lifestyle I was doing, I'm going to go to spin class and I'm going to go eat this healthy salad and Instagram love that no problem. My Account was growing. Then I started coming out when I became a cannabis business owner, realizing hey, I built this following. I'm going to fall on the sword a little bit and say I'm going to talk about cannabis, I built the following. This is what I love. And to me, it's my account. So I have the ownership of what I post on it's a personal account. And so I took the plunge to talk about cannabis. I knew I was going to lose followers. But what I didn't realize was how Instagram was going to prevent me from growing that account. And so it's been really frustrating. I don't love admitting it, but it is in the spirit of honesty, right? Like we live for those likes, we live for those engagements as just a human the trigger is real, then layer on top of it, okay, you have brand deals, you're trying to get views to make sure that the brand gets the exposure you're getting paid. There's some sort of transaction and then obviously the opportunity that comes with engagement creating engaged content, having people comment back so there's all these different layers that personally I've been experiencing evolve as I post more cannabis content. And it's so crazy because I'll do what I think is a really great real or make a really great post and it gets throttled and I noticed my story views go down significantly and I'll play a game where I won't post anything for 24 hours I'll let the stories completely clear out I've done the tools of like are the tricks like your first video after 24 hours should be you talking to the camera put a poll engage with people have them click on things and then like the engagement will creep back up and then the moment I post Hey, restart CBD has a sale or restart CBD we got a new shirt and I'm not even trying to promote or sell something. Content immediately goes back down and so it's so interesting to me the perception of censorship and being shadow banned. It might not be as explicit as Hey, you can't post this content for some people obviously it is but I doing there's different degrees of shadow banning and so I know obviously, y'all have gone through it on your own account. That was another interesting caveat I wanted to highlight Y'all have a significant amount of followers on Instagram, it's and kind of making the same realization, y'all have a platform that is very cannabis friendly. But you also acknowledge, hey, everybody is still over here on Instagram, I can't not have an Instagram account. So knowing that y'all have gone through shadow banning and just kind of from a high level, what is Shadow banning? And how do people know they're shadow banned? Is it like me? Oh, my God, my engagement went down all of a sudden, it's probably because I posted cannabis content.

Ariana Newton  25:26  
Yeah, no, absolutely. So yeah, Shadow banning is kind of this. Like you said, There's levels to it, right. And there's certain ways that you can kind of work back out of it. But for the most part, yeah, if you are associated. So the biggest example, I guess I have besides just the weed to page was this cannon for climate initiative that we were we were kind of promoting that people get out and start cleaning up a day early, and really change the perception of what a stoner is, and kind of just getting involved, whether that be composting or making a garden or just picking up some trash, really just simple initiatives to kind of get that collective energy working between that day of 420, which is the stoner holiday, and for 22, which is Earth Day. And so we thought, Yes, this is such a pure campaign, there's no way that we could get shadow banned. We had hundreds of our content creators, and this is also the week of for 20. So you have to keep in mind, Instagram is probably on the prowl. But we had stories, people that get 70 80,000 views on their stories dropped to 15,000 views, we have people that they regularly see 4000 views on their story 400 views. So it's a drastic drop. And like what you were saying when you're talking about your own page two is, it's not that they're necessarily even just restricting it from pushing out to new people for growth. They're also restricting it from your own audience. There are multiple people, when you have a shadow banned page, there could be hundreds of your community members that have their notifications on to get notified when you post when you go live when you do anything, and they don't receive those notifications. So it's kind of this interesting sphere that I like to say I like understands it, but I genuinely don't. But like you said it is again, it is cannabis related. It's that content aspect. And the second people started even tagging anything with the word canon, it hashtag Canon for climate, even though it's a picture of them with a bag of trash. shadowbanned. So, yeah, it's frustrating. And we tube's definitely seen that and experienced that as well, with its content, we've had multiple people reach out and they say, we have our notifications on and we don't get notified for your content. And same with linking out we to via Instagram. So yeah, we have to kind of be on these other social platforms to build our platform. We can't advertise YouTube on the YouTube, as ideal as that would be, you're already there. So yeah, it's kind of a game of cat and mouse with Instagram and any of these other platforms. But shadow banning, it takes a critical person to kind of be able to step out of their creation and realize that it's not them. And I think like you said, it has huge impacts on the psyche. And like as a content creator kind of stifles like, Well, how do you want to direct your content? And I think that's like a big thing that we need to start talking about as we shift into a space acknowledgement. We need these platforms, we're gonna continue to use them. They're the best way to garner these communities. So yeah, what's the best way to combat it for ourselves in a healthy way? And also to Yeah, bringing awareness to it, like, do we need to pick it Instagram? No, I don't think that would be the best idea but it would surely be an idea I know a lot of people will be on board with because they've gone through the turmoil of just the back and forth. Affiliate marketing, we can talk about that again to working with brand partnerships and being able to deliver a set amount of views or ROI or however the business has it set up that you're working with, it stunts your growth

Shayda Torabi  28:59  
Hello, just want to take a quick moment to thank my sponsor and full disclosure, my company restart CBD, restart CBD is a brand that I built with my sister. So we are family owned and women owned we do operate a brick and mortar in Austin. So if you ever find yourself in Central Texas, we'd love for you to come say hi, but we also ship nationwide and we carry a wide range of CBD products. We really care about this plant we really care about educating our customers, this show would not be possible without their support. So please go check us out at restart and use code to be blunt for $5 off your next purchase. Thanks and let's go back to the show. Yeah, I just it like brings to mind so many obviously personal experiences I've been not pulled off of the platform but my business account has been playing For certain content, and it's really inconsistent, we get a new bud in the store. We don't promote it don't say sale or just picture of a bud. And sometimes Instagram lets it through sometimes Instagram takes it down. And it's really difficult to be an influencer where you're trying to promote content just individually, maybe for your business or just exist in the cannabis industry trying to like for me, I just want to professionalize it, I want to normalize it to me, if my girlfriend's can go to have happy hour after work and post third clinking glasses, why can't I show you my bond wall equally, where I go celebrate happy hour, but all of a sudden, that's negative. And I can't do that. And so it's really sad when I hear these stories. And obviously, the experiences of so many people that like y'all have come in contact with to who they have a passion for creation. And then they're stifled with these platforms. And then obviously, when it does tie into monetary value, so I do want to get into affiliate marketing, because to me, that's such a huge opportunity with being on these platforms. And it's obviously a way to capitalize on the content, like I do think, yes, if you're creating content, you're out there to educate, entertain whatever the case may be. But ultimately, you do want to convert on that, whether it's to buy your course, or buy your book, or come visit your retail dispensary, or listen to your podcast, like you're trying to get that person to have some sort of emotional reaction to what you are asking them to do. And knowing that beauty does it fashion desert, they leverage influencers and these content creators, but then those industries, like you can post whatever you want, like what is I know she's not very popular right now because of everything going on with Travis Scott. But I can't help but think about Kylie Jenner she does. They're like, we're gonna get drunk and put makeup on. It's like, well, I'd love to get high and put makeup on. But I know the moment I do that if I being shadow banned, or flagged or whatever my content is going to be questioned. And so it is really hard when people are investing the time and energy to create engaging content for whatever reason, and then that content gets taken down or ultimately shut down. And so kind of going into affiliate marketing, in your words, what is affiliate marketing? And how does that play in the realm of cannabis influencers? As well as with these content platforms?

Ariana Newton  32:16  
Yeah, so I think affiliate marketing is it's a great tactic. And I think it's very strong for a lot of mainstream brands, and also Mom and Pop brands, if you can curate a community of people that believe in what you're doing to and they're willing to go out and advocate for and you can give them a piece of that. I think that's so important. I think with the cannabis space, though, what has kind of shifted is this disconnect of the company to the Creator, we've got a lot of these third party marketing platforms kind of stepping in from other agencies or other areas of the in not the cannabis industry, but just a brand marketing industries. And they don't understand the cannabis space, or the cannabis content creator who is a little more diligent, and I think, wants to advocate and market for a product, especially if you're looking for a creator that can return on some of that invest. They they want to research their products, they want to talk to the people involved, and they want to know, okay, so where are you sourcing? How are you sourcing? What's your process? Who are you, and you kind of lose a little bit of that with these third party platforms trying to set up affiliate marketing for companies. And the cannabis space can be kind of tricky to it from my personal experience and experience with smaller content creators that I network with, there has been multiple cannabis affiliate programs that have just disappeared, they didn't succeed or they didn't have anyone to kind of upkeep that part of their business in their brand. So it's kind of left I think a distaste in content creators mouse. And then that has kind of just paired with social media censorship makes it really hard for people to do cannabis affiliate marketing and feel confident and comfortable in it. I see a lot of people when they start with affiliate marketing, it's kind of one of the first things they do not realizing that it's going to have a huge impact on their page and their brand and what they're posting might potentially be problematic. And I don't think 100% The brands don't educate on that either.

Shayda Torabi  34:20  
It's an interesting so like, Just to riff on that. It's almost like a loophole has been created a little bit to offset the brand from posting and promoting these things to go through an influencer kind of two thoughts. One interestingly enough, I do wear the hat of an influencer content creator here in Austin and beyond sometimes, although I don't love those words. Sometimes I'm like, I'm just a girl who put stuff on the internet. If you want to pay me for it, great. I appreciate it. But like I'm nobody who's like, whatever, not my livelihood, but I appreciate the function of it and being able to leverage it to do certain things for sure. But this friend of mine, we were at an influencer event last night and she's like, Hey, A brand reached out to me and they wanted to send me some delta eight and like you sell Delta eight and you know about delta eight, can you tell me about it? I'm like, Well, shouldn't the brand that sent you or is asking you to sell you delta eight? Shouldn't they be educating you on the legalities and what it is and blah, blah, blah. And so, just going off of what you said, sometimes these platforms come in to intercept I think the opportunity or these brands, work with influencers and don't do the due diligence to educate the influencer, which I think you see probably happen more in the hemp space where you really have people who are like, I'm a fitness person, I'm a fitness influencer. And now I'm going to be talking about CBD. I don't know much about CBD. I don't know all the nuances of the endocannabinoid system. But man, it helps me sleep. And I'm going to go talk to my followers about how much great rest and recovery and sleep I get. I see the value but then going off of the second point you made of these influencers, then don't realize that Instagram then takes them posting cannabis content, maybe they use the wrong hashtag, maybe they showed something that they shouldn't have part of the brand packaging or link to go buy the product. Now with their special code. It's like, oh, yeah, now your, your contents flagged and your account might get flagged and shut down. And so it's the unfortunate part really, we're talking about well, right. Is it really worth it? But the unfortunate part is I don't think that communication is there in any capacity from everybody consistently in the industry. And the reality is, obviously, we're having this conversation like for listeners, there is no perfect formula to like being successful. Like we're all still evaluating and evolving in the industry, taking kind of everything that we know and kind of piecing something together. But to kind of follow up on that knowing y'all work with some really large influencers in the cannabis space that have found success, I want to say externally to build some sort of credibility and personality and followership, to offline, right to translating that into wheat tube. And I just want you to talk about a little bit like, you have dope as Yola, Uganda Strandja. Two girls, one bomb are some that kind of definitely come to the forefront. And I've watched their content on weed tube. And from what I've gathered, it's almost like y'all have created, like using two girls one bomb as the example. They're creating unique content on your platform. So it's not the same content that's being repurposed, which I think sometimes also just like a blanket, marketing, FYI, or PSA, people love to repurpose content, I think there's a right way to do it and wrong way to do it. But definitely, you don't want to just copy and paste things and kind of shotgun approach and see what sticks, you definitely want to have some strategy behind it. So it sounds like y'all have evolved from just being a platform for these content creators to really attracting these leaders who can help you further build out and establish that platform, while also making it really interesting and lucrative, I imagine for these content creators to have a new and interesting way to create content, if that makes sense.

Ariana Newton  38:05  
Yeah, the I think the greatest thing about it is that you're not stifling the content creator. So they're really able to push the boundaries of what is already here, which is so problematic when you're trying to think about what you want to post on these other platforms, you're automatically putting a filter on anything that you could come up with. And so that's the unique, I think opportunity that we do has presented some of these other creators to be able to just publish the content that they want to publish that they want to share with their communities that they can't do on other platforms. And what's great about YouTube as well, initially, a lot of these channels from YouTube got deleted, and they didn't have their channels, some of them did get reinstated. Some of them never did our creative director Errante never got his page back. And he had just under 200,000 subscribers. So finding them to audiences. Such a blow Yeah, it's finding those audiences, but then people were getting their YouTube pages back. So I think it was a great opportunity to kind of curate themselves for YouTube that in a way that was appropriate and safe for YouTube to kind of keep working with those audiences they had grown. But then if you want to see my more weedy content, or you want to actually like smoke on this piece, I just unboxed like, join me on weed tube and kind of, we're not like, YouTube is not our competition. I mean, it is kind of at first where we were like fighting that perspective. But at the end of the day, we want to be that additive space. And we are we to but we are open to any and all content, every consumer is going to be directly smoking on camera. Sometimes they might just be interacting with you during your video. They might just be high or they might have taken that animal or they might not even be high at all they just want to talk about the cannabis space like all of it is welcome. And I think that's the kind of the next phase that we're shifting into being more inclusive to all of that. But yeah, the dynamics of being able to double post double upload, like you said repurposing content and things like that. I'm kind of at a point still where I just encourage anyone that is uploading their content to YouTube and it is very cannabis specific, but they're smaller. So they're not getting like picked up on yet to just backlog it on YouTube, or at least have something that you're interacting with on YouTube in case that does disappear, your audience knows already kind of where to go to, to keep that connection alive. Because that was the biggest thing is just really there still I see people get comments all the time. I haven't seen your content in years, I remember you from YouTube, like, you're on YouTube now, like, what is this? So kind of balancing that dichotomy a little bit? I agree with you on the repurposing content, I think you need to be strategic on each platform. But when you're just starting out to I think double uploading is a way to go for sure.

Shayda Torabi  40:42  
No, that makes total sense. And it is more I think, on a case by case basis. I mean, like I sometimes we're the marketer had a little too tight, where I'm like, Oh, my gosh, this has to have this set of hashtags versus that set of hashtags. And like being a little bit, I guess my point is really, I think, if you're trying to scale, so you create a great differentiator of depending on like where you are at in the content creation journey, I should probably position it as but if you are just kind of getting started, you obviously want to just kind of shoot your shot anywhere you can. But I think there is something to understanding these platforms as nuanced as they are and catering to that platform knowing like what you can and can't get away with like, I mean, I use a lot of content opportunities on LinkedIn, it's more b2b. So I know my customers aren't really there hanging out. But I noticed LinkedIn wasn't being as stringent, I think on some of their enforcing, except just the other day, I saw one of my friends, former podcast, yeah, Alice, and she was talking about that, how LinkedIn and I was like, okay, so LinkedIn is paying attention and changing there is again, I don't know if they're changing their policy, or they're just enforcing their policy a little bit more. I do

Ariana Newton  41:54  
have I have a side anecdote to go with the LinkedIn, but because I'm not sure if you're aware of leaf wire, Mm, yes. But basically cannabis, LinkedIn, because once upon a time, LinkedIn was more strict. And I would argue they're still kind of strict, they are more loose with cannabis, I definitely don't see a lot of censorship going on. Because you've got people that are kind of sitting in more of these industry leadership roles that are just talking about the process and less about the products.

Shayda Torabi  42:21  
They're not going on LinkedIn and posting them ripping a ball, they might be like, I'm speaking at a cannabis conference. So it's definitely the content that is actually being placed on the platform for sure.

Ariana Newton  42:32  
But they had a lot of censorship as well, which is why Peter kind of spearheaded leaf wire in this curated community for those industry leaders and those job postings. And that informational piece was the news feed bit. But yeah, no, I've always kind of known that LinkedIn was a little sketchy. And then Alice posted, and I was like, Man, that's just really unfortunate to see, like recently, like 2021. And what is happening, it's really

Shayda Torabi  42:56  
hard. Unfortunately, again, there's not a perfect, like, do this, and you'll be fine. And do that. And you'll get, you know, chopped, it's really a case by case basis for that end person to be navigating both from a posting perspective, as well as from a consuming perspective. And just kind of acknowledging there are limitations and trying to navigate it kind of from there. And so I guess another aspect to all of this, obviously, is advertising, which I wanted to pick your brain on a little bit because the business who wants to advertise in the cannabis industry, it's really murky, right? Certain platforms, we obviously can't be on the most major social media platforms. I've seen some creative ways people are getting around it I see on Instagram, people will create a and it's more for hemp related products right at this stage. They'll create a fitness account and that account will just be about fitness. And it's not an influencer it's the company very clearly created this account just to promote their topical or whatever the CBD product is but then when you click it, it takes you to a landing page not the company page still but then once you're on that page, then you click it and it takes you to the product page was a little convoluted in my opinion. And it's not perfect meaning people always ask me What can I advertise I'm like, you can't if you have a lot of money and time you want to just waste to see if it gets kicked off or not. So I personally do a lot more guerilla marketing tactics and don't use social for advertising directly I use it for content and education which inadvertently advertises but if I'm a brand to her and thank you know, buddy for ancillary obviously like that. It seems like weird murkier waters but you're still not safe. Another kind of former guest and friend of mine comes to mind. Lauren from cush cards, she sells reading cards, they have no marijuana in them, they might have plantar adjoint on it. She got kicked off Tik Tok twice now, and constantly expresses the challenges of being an ancillary business where I think a lot of my understanding like leading up to, presently but like doing this podcast, I'm constantly learning and I'm like, oh sure if you're ancillary like you have no problem advertising wrong, these platforms really don't give a shit. And so kind of going back to the original question of advertising, obviously, there's plant touching medical marijuana, recreational marijuana programs promoting you know, different organizations. How do you get your medical card I'm sure things like that. I see like very he'll promoting things all the time. Advertising, then there's the hemp industry, which is legal, but advertising is still murky, to again, the ancillary. Like I was on weed tube earlier today prepping for this and I saw, there's a little happy kid and it's like, oh, man, I forgot my cannabis devices. And I'm in the middle of nowhere, but I have a pop top of weed. So what do I do? And you're able to advertise ancillary stuff, so the bongs and the pipes and things like that. But kind of what is advertising look like presently for cannabis brands? And then layer over with weed too? What do y'all allow? And what do y'all maybe not allowed? Like, I didn't really see from the time of watching YouTube. I haven't really seen like actual plants being advertised like by my bud, I'm the best brand. Do you want

Ariana Newton  46:23  
to know why? I'll tell you, I do know. It's because you're in Texas. So we do location specific, we have location specific advertising, so we can target and curate specifically to a state or certain zip codes. So we have I do have, we have some local dispensaries and delivery services, more of that plant touching side happening, but yeah, you're not gonna see it in Texas.

Shayda Torabi  46:47  
That makes total sense, because I was like, I just don't know if they're not pushing this line for a reason. Or you're obviously doing it, but you are also curtailing the laws, which, again,

Ariana Newton  47:00  
too, I mean, the brands too, they already know the laws of we can advertise outside of our state. So that is always one of the first questions with a lot of brands like that is can you advertise, like, specifically to just the people in our area, or our state where we're allowed to advertise? And we're on that same boat of like, yes, that's we have to abide by the law as well. But the ancillary products, it's exciting because we can advertise those globally, we can Headshop it's like anyone anywhere could see it, and you can just get it in the mail. So it's interesting.

Shayda Torabi  47:31  
No, that is really fascinating. Just also understanding from my personal experience, and people often ask me, it's like, how do you stay on top of like, all the different laws and regulations? And I'm like, it's hard. So I'm curious. How do y'all I guess, address that knowing that there are varying laws state to state? I mean, I'm sure at a high level, it's like, hey, marijuana is not legal in Texas, so we can't market certain things. So it's a little bit more blanket, but are there any more like nuances that is like, Are you keeping up to date on it, like on a day to day basis? Or is it like a month to month like, Okay, we got to check what states we can and can't do this or that in? And yeah, so from state to state perspective?

Ariana Newton  48:10  
It depends. Yeah, it kind of depends also, who's reaching out to advertise, the growth of the perspective of the community of YouTube has altered with these new companies kind of formulating and building themselves out in these medicinal areas where it is legal to have CBD hemp company where it is legal to kind of share all those products. What's great about that, though, is you can, for the most part, advertise to all 50 states. So it has been growing with the companies that kind of come to us uniquely, obviously, we keep up with the main states, California, Colorado, Texas, Florida. I'm in Montana. So I'm super involved kind of with what's going on here. But it really is curated on a basis of necessity, I guess you could say. So yeah, the upkeep isn't probably as day to day basis as I would like it to be, but it's there when we have a new product or a new company that is coming to us from a new state. And we're able to kind of be like, okay, so how does this work? And I think that's what's so great about our online community now and apps like clubhouse and things like that. It's so easy and quick to talk to each other and to figure out what's going on and curate appropriately from there with how quickly and swiftly things do change because Montana's in that same boat right now. Texas I feel that too. It's like we're our rec market is about to hit January 1, and they're still writing some of the rules. So it's Yeah,

Shayda Torabi  49:39  
I love learning that and hearing those tidbits because again, it like not nothing to me is like a surprise to the extent of I think again, when I was a consumer I had all these like envisions of what legalization looks like. And as the market started to open up, it's like, oh, this is actually they legalized but then they left out all these other their laws and it doesn't really quite always match up and make sense. And then you can even have legal programs. But obviously, the implications of social media, which I don't think people really fully understand sometimes, and I only really know because I worked professionally in technology for some time before I got into cannabis and realizing. And I loved I wanted to say this too. I love when you said that when we too was first launching, y'all started out on WordPress. And I don't think people really understand open platform versus a closed platform, right. And so the quick, you know, FYI, about WordPress, which I have talked about before, but probably not nearly enough, you own your content when you are on an open source platform. And so WordPress being open source that protects you as a content creator, as they as a website owner, as a user on a website, that content will not be pulled down by the platform. Right? And so I think people, they glamour ties, oh, I'm gonna go beyond Shopify or SquareSpace because it's the easiest place to go build my website, and I'm like, oh, like the other day, I was in a conversation with some cannabis friends. And it got brought up like what email networking and they're like, Oh, my MailChimp. I'm like, oh, MailChimp has a very clear stance, anti cannabis. So if you haven't been pulled out yet, like, you're lucky, but I would go download your CSV right now of all your contacts. And so yeah, obviously the same with social media. It's like, people like, why is Instagram and Facebook doing this? Like, why do they hate us? And I'm like, I don't know why. Because there's a lot of money to be made for having us on their platforms, and to just allow us to do what we want to do. But then you realize they're closed platforms, at the end of the day, they can decide to do what they want to do. So I think that's just like the reality people need to really fully understand. And it sounds like really technical or maybe rudimentary, even, like read the Terms of Service, but like really familiarizing yourself with the terms of service of these platforms, so that you can kind of play within bounds and kind of on that thought, I am curious, knowing that we tube is almost the safe place for those of us who are censored. Is there any censorship that y'all do? Because like, obviously,

Ariana Newton  52:08  
the fun question. No, it's a good one. It's a good one

Shayda Torabi  52:11  
islands maybe has a line. And so just because you're open to some things, where does that line get drawn? When you are trying to create a welcome safe space?

Ariana Newton  52:20  
Yeah, so you know, we aren't Pornhub. So obviously, pornography and things of that nature, are always going to get flagged. But yeah, same thing with violence. And same thing with YouTube goes through it as well, like kind of moderating that content and working with moderators and taking care of moderators, which I think is super, super important. With all of that content. They

Shayda Torabi  52:40  
might be there. Yeah. Filtering. I know. It's so crazy.

Ariana Newton  52:43  
But yeah, so in terms of advertising, we get this question a lot, because people are like, Can I show the button advertisement like, can we directly, it will link directly through to your site, they can click anywhere on the commercial, and there's really no specifications, like it is very much up to the brands and up to the marketer, whoever is creating that content to curate something. But yeah, pornography is really the big thing and the violence piece of it as well. But there's also certain aspects of that to where we haven't censored. There's a video of a veteran getting attacked by police in Nevada. And I feel like information like that, why it might be hard to digest. It's I'm glad someone captured in kind of that interesting dichotomy of navigating that we haven't run into too many issues with it yet. But I think a lot of the cannabis community is super circular in that way. And there's still platforms like bit shoe and things for people to go be a little more bigoted on. I don't mean to like, I don't mean to this, draw that narrative. I don't believe that narrative. I just, typically, that's kind of how it ends up coming about. But yeah, really curating the content. For the platform, a lot of our users naturally do that, which I appreciate. It makes it a little it's,

Shayda Torabi  53:54  
yeah, it's helpful, right. And it's a little bit like you want to create a safe space. But then at the same time, you want to really, like be an adult. And like, also, yeah, participate in the,

Ariana Newton  54:04  
it has to be a safe space. And it's been interesting not to segue a little bit into the LGBT plus community. But that was an interesting dynamic as well, kind of starting this site. There was a lot of people that were like, I don't want to see this, whatever. Like, we have an LGBT content category on our homepage, like we are very majority of our team identifies somewhere along that spectrum. So that was kind of a difficult battle to fight along the way too, with the cannabis community of acceptance on all fronts. And for all users and for all content, I would say yeah, it we get people reporting things that they just don't like all the time. And that's just unfortunate. We get people that unsubscribe from our newsletter because we featured a creator they didn't identify with or they're like, We don't want to see this content. And at the end of the day, I'm kind of glad I'm like, good. I don't need you here as part of this community, but it's crazy to see how Split we still are from that perspective. But yeah, round back to what you're saying too.

Shayda Torabi  55:07  
But that's the double edged sword for sure. I think with just content creation in general, and especially being in a position where I had a more family friendly content profile of where to go eat and where to go work out and where to travel and what to see to like, did you know that you have an endocannabinoid system, which isn't like super radical, right, but putting content in front of people that they maybe weren't receptive to. And I think I got really hurt at first realizing. And then I think what hurt me the most was when I started seeing brands turn me away, like I was working with an egg company. And they were about to, like, start a partnership with me and I had like, just kind of made the decision. Well, I'm gonna, I'm gonna post more cannabis content. And I wanted to be honest with them, yeah, I didn't want to be like, hiding or secretive about it. And the brand was like, we respectfully don't want to work with you. Because we just don't want that.

Ariana Newton  56:03  
We don't want to deal with the repercussions. We don't want to need to we don't have to look into it. We don't want to have to think about it. We don't want to I it's

Shayda Torabi  56:11  
a lot. Yeah, now and to where it's like I've noticed, like my invitations for things have gone down. But then at the same time, invitations for cannabis stuff might be going up. So it's that double edged sword and trade offs of the more that you step into creating content in this world, you're unfortunately going to be met with more challenges, whether it's the censorship itself, the platform, the person on the other end, who's watching that content, and all these other details that they're the realities of living in a digital age where you want to be online, and you want to be social, and you want to be creative. But then you're also met with all these things kind of like hindering you. And so we are almost out of time. But I did want to talk about one more thing, because we were talking about it before we were recording. And I think that it's a really interesting thought to kind of frame and leave for the listeners. And that was discussing censorship, but from the lens of the celebrities that are obviously coming into the cannabis industry in like herds. I mean, you got Seth Rogen, you have Justin Bieber, I just saw on YouTube, an unboxing, from indica wife shout out, she was doing Ella thorns. And so you have all these celebrities who seem to skirt by the censorship that regular people have to deal with. And so I'm just curious, kind of your thoughts around that, and what you experienced and heard and observed just from your, you know, perspective inside of the table,

Ariana Newton  57:33  
I was gonna say to, with what we're talking about lazy marketing, I think, is a huge problem in our industry, as well as we educate about the plant. And that's kind of something that, unfortunately transfers onto celebrity brands, because they're not super involved. They're involved in what they're doing. I know, Seth, yeah, he probably smoked a bunch of weed picking out the stream that he wanted to use for House plans. But the rest of it, the rest of it is can be missing and misleading and misguiding. And I think something cool about Seth is he does try to educate. He's been in the space advocating for a while he got away with so much more being in California and kind of having this creator scope blanketing and protecting him. But yeah, he recently just posted on his story, like, I sell weed for, like, that's my life or whatever. And a marketer I follow on Twitter kind of called it out a little bit. And he ended up responding. But the problem is, I just he doesn't understand the perspective of the censorship, because he's never been censored. And I guess I don't know if that's true. But I mean, I watched Pineapple Express, and that was years ago, and there was no, there was backlash. Sure. But I mean that it still exists, you brought the movie into production, you're smoking a bunch of weed, like the dynamics that I can see how it doesn't, it doesn't match up with his brain. But then yeah, that kind of that, that turns the key of this marketing aspect of the overconsumption piece ingesting these new platforms, or even Billboard Marketing and stuff like that, like you mentioned, the thing with Instagram might be they can't age restrict from children. And how do you do that in our like, day to day lives, too, as we're walking about with it kind of getting so saturated in some of these areas, as they do figure out these advertising laws. And they, as we do work with more celebrities, as they kind of white label weed and come into the industry with with their audiences and their brands, which I think is great, pushing forward the legalization movement. It's just unfortunate. I feel like we have a lot more people on that end of it and not enough people kind of doing all the back work of getting it set up properly. We're really we're struggling here a little bit. There's only a handful of people that know what to say what to write, how to write it. So specifically such that it's not going to get flagged later on because it was written wrong or dissected wrong.

Shayda Torabi  59:51  
No, I couldn't agree more. My hope would be and you kind of really eloquently articulated it. It's not that these people like shame on them. Like, do I think all celebrity cannabis is great? Hell fucking No. Are they white labeling weed? Hell fucking Yes. Is it helping push legalization? I guess to some degree? Sure, maybe Seth Rogen. For sure. I don't know about Bella Thorne. But my hope would be that they would, instead of maybe like his profile being like, I sell weed, it'd be like, Hey, I'm gonna take this influence I haven't, I'm gonna actually go to Instagram and Facebook. And I'm going to be like, I want to have a conversation about why people are getting their accounts pulled off when they're talking about cannabis. Like that would be a campaign that I love to see how to buy a celebrity. Come on Justin Bieber, like Snoop Dogg, Martha Stewart, like somebody. And so unfortunately, I just don't see that happening right now. And so you have this huge gap of people are obviously globbing onto social media for all these different reasons. But yet social media is making it infinitely more difficult and inconsistent, for how they're operating their rules. And I think that's where the cannabis industry is really struggling, because just make it an even playing ground,

Ariana Newton  1:01:04  
you know, exactly, we need an even playing ground and with new states kind of bringing in their programs, whether it be adult use or medical, shifting that narrative, and then being able to communicate that with these large audiences is so different, it's going to vary from place to place. And I think that's like a big, we need a giant table where we can just sit down with some of the biggest heads in the space, and really, like hash some of that out for people. So they're not so they're not closing that, or they're not caught in that closed loop system of hearing the same things. It's like, it's what they say, with growers, it's like, once you wait to grow, that's the way you grow. And a lot of people kind of have a hard time shifting that mindset to maybe more sustainable practices. Or another way that might be more beneficial or not be using a bunch of like nutrients and nitrates and things like that to enhance the plant. And so it's just education, it's doing things like this, it's just talking about it. So the moral of

Shayda Torabi  1:02:09  
this episode is to get off of traditional media sites. I'm just kidding. I wish that that was the end all be all right. And I think that as we continue to be censored, you're only gonna see more people be creative and come up with the weed tubes of the world. And also, I thought it was really interesting. Like, what the fuck, how are these celebrities getting to be on these mainstream platforms without being censored? Like that has to stop there has to be equality, if there's going to be censorship, right? Yeah, I don't know. I mean, obviously, we got into a lot of these different details. And really, the takeaway is for you to go continue doing research. You know, I think if you're a personal brand versus doing business for a brand, there's a little bit of a different approach that I personally would take. And I encourage you to do some more due diligence and research on what that structure looks like for you what platforms you want to be on, and just kind of learn to play the game, right? It's unfortunate, but it's the reality. We want to be on these platforms, our consumers, our community, the market is there. But at the same time, they're making it really difficult and personally speaking, I'm really tired of getting my content flagged, or being told by Instagram that that's not appropriate, even though I'm posting things that maybe are one a federally legal product, because it's all hemp based or two has nothing to do with me selling has everything to do with me educating. And yeah, that's the fight that I'm going to personally continue to fight because I do believe in challenging these platforms. I think that that is a little bit of, you know what needs to happen. We can't just flee from them. Maybe if we did, they would get the memo that we want to play on their platforms. But with that to say, yeah, lots of good information in here. Listen to it again. Take notes and go out into the world and be bold and be courageous and continue to navigate the cannabis industry to the best of your abilities. If you have questions feel free to reach out to me always we'd love to connect with you guys find me on social media at the Shayda Torabi at to be blunt pod on Instagram. I do play there quite a bit. And yeah, looking forward to connecting with you guys and see you next Monday for another episode. Bye y'all.

Announcer  1:04:29  
Love this episode of To be blunt. Be sure to visit the Shayda be blunt. For more ways to connect new episodes come out on Mondays. And for more behind the scenes follow along on Instagram at the Shayda Torabi

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