Big Tech is finally warming to cannabis and the cannabis industry

By | January 23, 2022

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This article was contributed by Paul Dunford, co-founder and director of program development at Green Check Verified.

Tweet and issue

Posted by actor and marijuana farmer Jim Belushi on February 13, 2021 Twitter,

“Sick from Facebook / Instagram. They banned my farms [sic] Facebook page Belushi’s Farm and our Instagram. Plus, they’re constantly removing our content. Don’t they know marijuana [sic] Is there medicine? “

This tweet highlights one of the lesser known problems faced by the cannabis industry – the antithesis to “Big Tech”. In addition to social media outlets such as Facebook and Instagram (both owned by Zuckerberg’s Meta), cannabis-specific content has previously been aggressively (but inconsistently) suppressed by companies such as Apple and Google. In the latter case, the search giant bans ads for “objects that change the state of mind for entertainment purposes or otherwise inspire ‘higher’, a frustrating ban that has offered marketers clever solutions to the cottage industry.”

However, some of these concessions were granted in 2021. For example, lastly check the Facebook page for Belushi’s Farm, and in July Apple adjusted their App Store review policies to exempt “legal marijuana clinics” from banning their apps.[facilitate] Sales of controlled goods, ”provides a streamlined mobile experience for delivery services such as Leafly. While some companies continue to dig into their heels – Google has made it clear that “applications that feature the sale or facilitation of marijuana or marijuana products, regardless of legitimacy” are not welcome in the Google Play Store – recruitment is clearly starting to pick up.

A turning point for the cannabis industry

Notably, in 2021, one of the world’s largest tech companies, Amazon (higher than Apple in the Fortune 500 list) took a series of bold steps in support of the cannabis industry. The company made two significant announcements in June, “an update on our vision of being the best employer on earth and the safest place on earth to work.”

  • First, they adjusted their standard drug testing policy and stated that “marijuana will no longer be included in our comprehensive drug screening program for any position not regulated by the Department of Transportation.”
  • Second, they expressed support for the recently introduced Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Exploitation (MORE) Act. The law “would legalize marijuana at the federal level, remove criminal records and invest in affected communities.”
  • In addition, they “hope that other employers will join us, and that policymakers will act quickly to pass legislation.” He followed suit in a letter to Senators Schumer, Wyden and Booker in September, expressing his support for the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (still in draft form).
  • After all, they’ve put their money where their proverbial mouth is and lobbied Capitol Hill in support of federal marijuana reform. The company revealed that part of its $ 4.7 million lobbying costs in Q3 2021 “[issues] Related […] Cannabis Amendments, including the More Act of 2021 (HR 3617) and the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (draft form – no bill number). “

Why is this important?

It is important to remember that Amazon does not only sell tangible items such as laundry detergent and video games – it is a technology company that, through its cloud computing platform Amazon Web Services, essentially runs a large part of the Internet (as recently published). AWS outage). In addition, Amazon’s portfolio of grocery stores is filled with significant assets in all areas of the physical and ecommerce, from the Hall Foods Market to the streaming site Twitch and the online pharmacy Pilpack. Some of the more optimistic voices in the industry also suggest that the purchase of a virtual pharmacy is proof that Amazon is laying the groundwork for online sales of marijuana after the marijuana is fully legalized at the federal level.

Reputation risk role

Any company that provides banking compliance software for financial institutions banking the marijuana industry should be acutely aware of the role that risks reputation in the decision-making process from which banks and credit unions should decide to provide state-of-the-art services. Cannabis businesses. Some are worried that if people find out they are a “weed bank” they will lose business, but it is important to remind them that Amazon is not in the business of taking unnecessary risks like Apple. Clearly, they have assessed the current conflict between state and federal law and decided that endorsing or including cannabis on their platform does not pose a sufficient risk to the reputation that they would ignore the market opportunity provided by the increasing legalization. The marijuana industry.

Looking to the future of the cannabis industry

Long-standing concerns about potential consumer reactions, or the fear that the federal government may one day suddenly change its approach to get rid of state-legal marijuana businesses and start shutting down these programs, while the world’s largest companies shut down these programs. It is less likely to start. Some skin in the game. State-legal marijuana doesn’t go away anytime soon, and the adoption of the big tech industry should provide financial institutions with evidence – and some reassurance -.

Paul Dunford is co-founder and director of program development at Green Check Verified.

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