back to article Outage-ous: Twitter OKs cannabis ads, then goes up in smoke

Twitter needs to make money, and the US cannabis industry is booming, making its decision to become the first major social media platform to allow cannabis advertising in the US the perfect hybrid.  In an update to its drugs and drug paraphernalia policy page published yesterday, Twitter said it would permit approved cannabis …

  1. elsergiovolador Silver badge


    while Google allows very limited advertisement of non-intoxicating CBD products

    I think you should watch your language, as this way you are potentially stigmatising people who use cannabis for medical purposes.

    Cannabis used medically, often contains cannabinoids like THC at levels that for a person not accustomed to it, could produce such effects, but as such it does not mean there is something wrong with it and association with such negative words suggests that you may have become a big pharma's tool.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Toxic

      Regarding being big pharma’s tool…you know who manufacturers cannabis don’t you? It ain’t tegridy farm, it’ll be companies like Marlboro, big tobacco. This is their route back to having everyone hooked on another carcinogenic substance that stinks to high heaven. Not looking forward to the future here.

    2. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Toxic

      And if we're having a contest of what people should do, you should read the definition for "intoxication" and compare it to the definition for "toxic". You can become intoxicated, I.E. with mental effects usually with decrease in mental function, including a temporary decrease, from consumption of a substance, using a variety of things including many prescribed for medical use and some allowed for recreational use. Alcohol, for example, is also intoxicating. It does not mean poisonous, although some poisons will produce intoxication before they produce death (notably, not all do).

      Also, it's worth keeping in mind that this was likely quoted from Google's restrictions, but using only a few words instead of quoting the whole sentence.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Toxic

        > Alcohol, for example, is also intoxicating. It does not mean poisonous

        Ethanol Oral, mouse: LD50 = 3450 mg/kg;

        Caffeine Oral, Rat: LD50 = 367.7 mg/kg

        Nicotine: Oral, Rat: LD50 = 50 mg/kg

        THC: ORAL-RAT 666 mg/KG ; ORAL-MOUSE 482 mg/KG ; ORAL-DOG 525 mg/KG (THC isn't in our MSDS system so this is some random weed company)

        However Dasani seems to have got to them because for DiHydrogen-Monoxide it says "Product does not present an acute toxicity hazard based on known information"

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: Toxic

          Just as "intoxication" doesn't mean "toxic", it also doesn't mean "not possible to obtain toxic level of". It is basically unrelated to toxic levels. It is true that, if you can become intoxicated by something, you can probably die from consuming too much of it that's a smaller quantity than for things that don't intoxicate you, but as I noted, this is not always the case for poisons that don't affect mental function before they kill you.

          1. jmch Silver badge

            Re: Toxic

            "if you can become intoxicated by something, you can probably die from consuming too much of it that's a smaller quantity "

            With reference to your use of *probably*, pretty much all drugs have a level at which they produce intoxicating effect, and a higher level which is fatal. The more dangerous drugs like heroin have a lethal dose which is not much more than the effective dose.

            There is only 1 exception, which is marijuana, for which there are 0 (yes, zero) known cases of death that can unambiguously be attributed to marijuana overdose (and that over many centuries and hundreds of millions of users). [Note and disclaimer - that doesn't mean it can't be dangerous!!! Use responsibly!!!]

      2. Potemkine! Silver badge

        Re: Toxic

        Alcohol, for example, is also intoxicating. It does not mean poisonous

        Alcohol kills much, much more than THC.

        Worldwide, 3 million deaths every year result from harmful use of alcohol. This represents 5.3% of all deaths.

        The biggest difference in legal approval, till now, is that alcohol is produced massively in Western countries when cannabis is not. It's all about economics, not health.

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: Toxic

          I am not arguing for or against alcohol or cannabis. I am stating the definition of intoxication and of toxicity, noting that they are different, and stopping there. The rest of the argument is up to you.

          1. Potemkine! Silver badge

            Re: Toxic

            Oh, I understood you said Alcohol was not poisonous. My bad.

      3. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: Toxic

        "intoxication" and compare it to the definition for "toxic"

        I am aware of the difference, thank you, however you can agree that this word has a certain connotations.

        More appropriate word to use would be "impairment".

        Alcohol, for example, is also intoxicating. It does not mean poisonous,

        Except alcohol is poisonous.

  2. MattPi

    As we noted then, Twitter's status page didn't show any issues during that outage either, and it displays the same message today as it did yesterday, and on February 9th during the bad migration: "No incidents in the last 180 days."

    The team that had access to update the page is probably gone too.

  3. captain veg Silver badge


    I'm not a lawyer.

    From this non-lawyer position I should like to know the difference between decriminalisation and legalisation.

    I've read in the news media that British police are no longer aggressively seeking convictions for possession. This, apparently, is decriminalisation.

    You still could be nicked, though, depending on how the officers were disposed towards you at that particular moment in time. So it's definitely not legalisation.

    All clear?


    1. captain veg Silver badge

      Re: decriminalisation

      Musk, however, definitely should be nicked. Throw away the key.


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: decriminalisation

        He should be made CEO of every antisocial media outlet, advertising company, Google, Amazon and so on. Let him run them down THEN lock him up and throw away the key.

    2. Catkin Silver badge

      Re: decriminalisation

      Within the United States, it's a little more formal (though barely less woolly) and comes down to the difference between state and federal rights. It's still illegal at a federal level but has been decriminalised at a state level in certain states. Technically, use, possession and distribution is still a federal crime but, as you said, are unlikely to face arrest; more specifically, state police officers cannot act without federal direction.

    3. BinkyTheHorse

      Re: decriminalisation

      Not a lawyer either, but pretty sure decriminalization means just that i.e., legislating something that was a crime to no longer be a crime.

      Law enforcement officers selectively turning a blind eye, and calling it "decriminalization", is a perversion of the type of legal system we have in most democracies. Law enforcement should be limited to, well, law enforcement.

      At worst, initiatives like this might be cynical ploys to pump up statistics later on, by getting drug users to get their guard down around police, and then throwing the net at a convenient point in time, later down the line.

    4. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: decriminalisation

      Part of the distinction is due to the multiple levels of US government. States can remove cannabis use from their list of crimes, which means that state law enforcement won't arrest you for having or selling it, which is what decriminalization has come to mean. The federal government still prohibits it and could arrest you if they wanted, but most of the time they would expect state law enforcement to do that and don't do anything if they're not. This leaves cannabis in a weird place where the state says it's allowed and may in fact have regulations that say that outright while the federal government says its illegal and can change its mind about ignoring the use any time it likes.

      From a strict definition of the terms, decriminalization and legalization are the same, and you can say that the state government has legalized it and the federal government has not.

      1. Ace2 Silver badge

        Re: decriminalisation

        Not sure that’s quite right.

        Criminalization means that if you get found with a joint in your pocket you’ll get arrested and taken to the county jail for a night.

        Decriminalization means it’s not legal, but if you get found with a joint in your pocket you’ll get a court summons and a fine. Like a parking ticket.

        Legalization means something is legal. You’re allowed to walk around with a joint in your pocket.

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: decriminalisation

          "Decriminalization means it’s not legal, but if you get found with a joint in your pocket you’ll get a court summons and a fine. Like a parking ticket."

          This is incorrect. In order for the government to assess a fine, the action must be recorded as illegal, I.E. a crime. It can be downgraded from a crime that earns a prison sentence to one that earns a fine, but it's still a crime in that case. Parking tickets are crimes, although the word is often not used because it sounds too severe. While less negative words like "infraction" or "offense" may be used, the law says you shouldn't do it and can be punished for it.

          The word is used instead of legalization in this case because it is not legal by federal rules, which apply anywhere in the country, and thus any user is still committing a crime as far as the federal government is concerned. Some have also used "decriminalization" to mean "a relaxation of restrictions", but this usually doesn't make sense because the thing is still a crime but people are just punished less often.

          1. anonanonanonanonanon

            Re: decriminalisation

            At least here, it generally means an on the spot fine, but no criminal record.

            On another angle, where I am, the cbd weed (no/low thc) can be legally sold from anywhere that sells cigarettes, but without trying it or testing it properly, it's pretty indistinguishable from the real deal. This has apparently led to the situation that if caught, you can challenge, meaning the police will be forced to test the weed, the cost of the test is greater than the fine, leaving the police to decide if it's worth it at all and you might escape the fine. I am not a lawyer and have only heard this through the grapevine, it sounds theoretically feasible,

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: decriminalisation

        Except that it's illegal for the feds to spend any money prosecuting you in states where it's legal under state law.

        And no money means the feds really can't arrest you, because that would mean spending money on the pig's salary.

    5. ChoHag Silver badge

      Re: decriminalisation

      Legal means you can do what you like.

      Decriminalisation means possession of it hangs over your head in case the myriad other charges they throw at you don't stick. Also they steal your weed and don't give it back.

      1. Lil Endian Silver badge

        Re: decriminalisation

        Also they steal your weed and don't give it back.

        Well, they've gotta have something for the weekend, right?

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: decriminalisation (in UK)

      Someone found in possession of a small amount for personal use may get a "Cannabis Warning" instead of being arrested. It's not classed as being part of a Criminal Record, although it is recorded, and being caught a second time can lead to a prosecution.


    7. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Re: decriminalisation

      Medical cannabis has been legal in the UK for many years now and there are thousands of people carrying and using cannabis (both flower and oils) legally.

      Police must be more sensitive now when it comes to approaching someone using it - some disabilities are invisible.

    8. Lil Endian Silver badge

      Re: decriminalisation

      @captain veg

      Legalisation: pretty self explanatory, it's legal, no restrictions.

      Decriminalisation: no longer a criminal offence, but as it's not legal nominal action may be taken, eg. forced to throw your stash down the nearest drain. If you're being a problem, eg. toking outside a school, a fine may still be applied or another criminal offence that covers the angles.

      Currently cannabis in the UK is a Schedule B drug, meaning it's one below heroin and crack, it is not decriminalised. The current position of most constabularies in the UK is that they don't have the man power to police the proliferation of cannabis. It's still very much criminal, they just aren't chasing it, other than grow factories and those causing unacceptable grief (either upsetting neighbours repeatedly, or nearby such as a school). If caught in possession up to 5 years prison, supply up to 14 years. That'd be quite unusual though, you'd have to be asking for it.

      This is one of the things I hate about UK laws at the mo, grey areas: "we won't do anything", until they do.

    9. pig

      Re: decriminalisation

      It was class B, then Class C, then Class B again.

      But in 2018 they made it so you can get it legally prescribed.

      I have a prescription for 20-25% THC medicine.

      It is amazing.

      It is also odd that most coppers don't seem to have been told it can be legally prescribed now.

    10. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: decriminalisation

      Legalization is when it's legal. You can buy ciggys at the corner, and no limit as to how many you can buy? Decriminalization is where you don't go to jail for possession of small amounts, will pay a fine for larger amounts, and when you have too much, then it becomes a legal issue. I'm thinking of NYC...

      So, Decriminalization = Regulated illegal?

  4. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    Payment in supplies

    Will Twitter accept payment in "supplies" instead of cold hard cash?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Twitter 2.0

    An online equivalent of a dark alley where the dealers and hobos hang out.

  6. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Any reliable current sources of cannabis market information?

    In this article, the US cannabis industry is booming. In others I read the industry is in difficulty. When I tried to check I only found sources that were several years old and that the price varies by a factor of at least 10 depending on location. It is possible journalists are accurately reporting different aspects of the same information: industry appears booming because of increases in supply but the large supply has depressed the price to the point where growers are struggling.

    An out of date figure for legal US market size is $5B/year (+$50B illegal). Using wild guesses of 10% profit margin and an advertising budget of 10% of profit, getting 100% of the market would give Twitter about $1400/day of revenue compared to its $4M/day burn rate. And that assumes accepting cannabis ads does not drive away other customers.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Any reliable current sources of cannabis market information?

      It'll be interesting over a longer term to see what happens in the US. Will cannabis use increase significantly? Will it ever become fully legal? How will that affect drug driving charges? Will other more expensive, more harmful and definitely illegal drugs start to decline? There is a model in the Netherlands to look at, but their attitude to cannabis started quite some while ago, before the harder drugs were quite so ubiquitous and "designer drugs" weren't really a thing yet.

    2. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Any reliable current sources of cannabis market information?

      There are two cannabis markets in California. One is supplying the outlets ("dispensaries") which retail weed products to retail customers. The other is growing hemp for fiber. The latter is quite large -- to give you some idea of the relative size we have one local grow operation that just uses a couple of commercial greenhouses, the sort that were growing tomatoes while the help operations cover many acres. Cannabis supply is tightly regulated, its difficult to be a mom and pop operation and make a profit, its definitely not the goldmine that people thought it would be (but its an OK business for the well organized with deep pockets to get things started -- and that's the main complaint). Hemp has a huge demand as the fibers are superior to polyester and they're biodegradable. Hemp operations cover many acres locally, its a good crop for marginal or resting land since it requires few nutrients and relatively small amounts of water. (The only security needed tends to be signs explaining to the local stoners that this is hemp, "you won't get high off it" so please leave it alone. Cannabis needs security because the crop is labor intensive to grow and so quite valuable.)

      The market for illegal weed has always been grossly overstated. It bears a lot of resemblance to alcohol during Prohibition -- there's a lot of incentive to hype up law enforcement 'production' to justify the huge sums spent on it. In practice you'll find one thing limiting the size of the market is making cannabis with such a high THC content that there's no incentive to consume it in any appreciable quantities. This is another hangover from Prohibition where the incentive with illegal alcohol was to make it as strong as possible since it cut down the volume you needed to transport (and increased the retail value of a shipment). Customers don't like being hammered, though -- that's just fairy tales. (In the alcohol world it would be like having a glass of beer with lunch and being blind drink for the rest of the afternoon -- neither practical nor desirable.)

  7. chivo243 Silver badge

    No ads for

    Tobacco, Alcohol(beer, wine or hard spirits) weed, firearms, and Window 11!

    anybody who wants these things doesn't need ads, they know where to find them ;-}

    I can't advertise, but I can buy you one on a Friday! ->

    1. Lil Endian Silver badge

      Re: No ads for

      Tobacco, Alcohol... weed, firearms, and Window 11!

      Well, of the three of those that are legal in the UK one of them defo shouldn't be... Answers on a postcard!


  8. jmch Silver badge


    They should simply keep the ban for states in which it's illegal, and have the same guidelines as alcohol adverts for the states where it's legal. Yes they are not exactly the same but close enough.

    As giant data hoovers they know exactly where each of their users is connecting from and their true age, right??? /sarc

  9. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "In an update to its drugs and drug paraphernalia policy page"

    I'm sure Mr Spliff will do his utmost to serve the needs of all cannabis users and pushers on the bird network, or what's left of it.

  10. Ian Mason

    Would it be cruel...

    Would it be cruel to suggest that Twitter's revenue has, in the words of Messrs. Cheech and Chong, gone up in smoke?

    Up in smoke

    Thats where my money goes

    In my lungs

    And sometimes up my nose

    When troubled times

    Begin to bother me

    I take a toke

    And all my cares

    Go up in smoke

    1. Lil Endian Silver badge

      Re: Would it be cruel...

      It occurs to me that Cheech and Chong's van was way ahead of any Tesla, it must have been self flying!

      1. Dizzy Dwarf Bronze badge

        Re: Would it be cruel...

        Dude, I think we're parked.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Would it be cruel...

      Great film that, very funny!

  11. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    CBD + THC is now LSD

    The industries are just making money (pounds, shillings, and pence) from this presentation but my experience has been that the current "THC" and, "CBD" pills and gummies are pleasant but vastly less effecting than smoking anything. The only thing that any of these do is help me sleep so I'm comfortable but not impressed or even stoned at all. In college I was known as "Captain Bent Brains" because I was always trying everything to let my friends know what was decent and what wasn't fun.

  12. DouglasArmstrong

    I think medical cannabis advertising should not be aggressive. On the one hand, people should be aware that doctors sometimes recommend the use of marijuana extract for medicinal purposes. But smoking weed and thinking that it will cure you of all diseases is foolish. I often see advertisements for more than just medical marijuana.

  13. graceperez

    It's interesting to see Twitter's decision to allow cannabis advertising in the US, considering the booming cannabis industry and the need for social media platforms to generate revenue. This move could mark a significant milestone for the cannabis industry in terms of reaching a broader audience and expanding their marketing efforts.

    However, the situation seems to have taken a turn as Twitter's cannabis advertising decision appears to have gone up in smoke. In an update to its drugs and drug paraphernalia policy page published yesterday, Twitter stated that it would permit approved cannabis advertising. Unfortunately, it seems that there might have been some issues or reconsiderations after the update.

    It's not uncommon for social media platforms to face challenges when dealing with cannabis-related content and advertising due to the complex and evolving legal landscape surrounding cannabis in the US. Federal laws still classify cannabis as a Schedule I controlled substance, which creates uncertainties and conflicting regulations.

    Social media platforms must navigate between state-level legalization and federal restrictions, leading to cautious and ever-changing policies regarding cannabis advertising. The fact that Twitter initially decided to allow cannabis advertising shows the growing recognition of the legitimacy of the cannabis industry, but the subsequent reversal may highlight the ongoing complexities and uncertainties surrounding this issue.

    For the cannabis industry, navigating advertising regulations can be challenging, with restrictions varying across different platforms and jurisdictions. As the cannabis industry continues to mature, it's essential for social media platforms to engage in ongoing dialogues with industry stakeholders and lawmakers to establish clearer and more consistent guidelines for cannabis-related content and advertising. Get more information from this site:

    As we move forward, it will be interesting to see how social media platforms and the cannabis industry find common ground to strike a balance between responsible advertising and adhering to relevant regulations. Clear and coherent policies will not only benefit the cannabis industry but also provide users with transparent information about the products and services they encounter on these platforms.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like