It seems like too many to be a coincidence. Over the last few weeks, YouTube has deleted or locked a number of cannabis-related channels, and the marijuana community is asking why.  The noted weed-related YouTube users including famed cannabis horticulturist Jorge Cervantes, Vader OG, Greenbox Grown, and how-to channel GreenGenes Garden have all been shut down and/or flagged recently. Leafly reported on the phenomenon, saying “the global video platform has been shutting down a wide swath of cannabis channels, often with little or no warning.”

Simply being flagged is par for the course for the makers of cannabis-related content, but in the past this was a jumpable hurdle. Dylan Osborn, the founder of the medicinal marijuana channel Greenbox Grown, said that over the last four months he was flagged by the site six time. Until now, he had been able to fix the problem by just emailing the site, but this time he said, “You could tell it was different.” He noticed that “Lots of other channels were getting taken down, channels that had been around for years and years.”

When “Vader OG” was shut down, it started a second channel, which was flagged as well. YouTube has a three strikes policy when it comes to what it deems inappropriate content. “The first strike was two videos. It was just kind of weird, but I kept uploading, of course, and bam, I got a second strike,” the user said in a video on their second channel. “So I am unable to upload for at least two weeks, which kind of gets in the way of the daily series.”

No one is certain why YouTube is making this campaign now, especially as the water seems to be warming up for cannabis tolerance in the U.S. Some suspect the motivation comes from advertiser pressure. Alice and Clark, who had more than 28,000 subscribers to their YouTube videos say they suspect that money is behind the anti-cannabis push. “Last year, YouTube went through what most are calling ‘The Adpocalypse,’ where many top advertisers were seeing their ads play before content that was inappropriate and damaging to their brand,” they told Leafly in an email. “Once the money started leaving, YouTube updated their algorithm to prevent ‘unsuitable’ content from getting ads delivered against their content and the whole system has been crumbling ever since.”

Now many content makers are being forced to find new outlets for their videos. Some have moved to the cannabis-centric platform TheWeedTube.com. Others have tried less particular platforms such as the gaming platform Twitch and even PornHub. Osborn said right now the community is in talks and that, “We are all trying to figure this out together.”

Photo via Flickr user Rego Korosi

Dabs Mag Staff
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