- In the digital era, where our likes and dislikes are dictated by Instagram and YouTube, cannabis influencers have their say too.
- From celebrities like rapper Snoop Dogg and comedian Tommy Chong, to personalities like YouTuber Joel Hradecky and activist Jodie Emery, who gained their fame trough their online presence, they all have put cannabis at the centre of their communication strategy on social media.
They like marijuana and make no secret of it on social media. From those who focus on legislative aspects to those who share growing tips and comment on the latest strain they've tried and its effects - upon payment of a fee for promotional work - 21st-century cannabis influencers cater for every taste.
The picture, however, is not always as rosy as it seems, as cannabis influencers have to double-check their every post if they don't want their profiles to be suspended. Many companies have already seen their accounts vanish into thin air overnight, and while some of them have been restored after filing a complaint, the general feeling is that you must tread very carefully whenever you post cannabis-related content. Apparently, the most restrictive social network is Facebook, followed by Instagram and YouTube. On the flip side of the coin, we have Twitter, with a more permissive approach. Let's have a look at the hottest cannabis influencers and their strategy to attract followers.
One of the most prominent personalities in the American cannabis scene is musician and comedian Tommy Chong, to the point that he has created his own cannabis brand. With over 2.3 million followers, his Instagram account, where he shares memes about prohibition and legalisation, is a clear reflection of his popularity. Definitely worth checking out if you're out for some fun but also some learning.
Another celebrity with an inclination for cannabis is rapper Snoop Dog. Quite active on social media - he has 25.2 million followers on Instagram, 35 million on Facebook and over 17 million on Twitter - his Instagram account features, buried under mountains of selfies, photos of his youth soccer team and his new gospel album, a fair number of posts about cannabis. From time to time, he likes to surprise his fans with recommendations like this:
American rock singer, songwriter and guitarist Melissa Etheridge is yet another celebrity every self-respecting cannabist should follow. She gained notoriety in the cannabis scene after she went public about using cannabis for struggling with cancer, and now she runs the Etheridge Farms, an organic farm that will soon be growing cannabis plants. With over 50,000 followers on Instagram, she uses her account to promote her business.
And with other famous names including Rihanna, Miley Cirus and Lady Gaga having appeared on social media in the company of the plant, the list of celebrities with a passion for cannabis goes on and on.
Activism, cultivation, strains and more
With names like YouTuber Joel Hradecky, who was rocketed to fame via his cannabis related posts on social media, weed stardom is far from being just celebrity territory. The American YouTuber started out sharing a variety of crazy ways to get stoned on his YouTube channel CustomGrow420, and now companies in the industry bend over backwards to get him to try out their products. A few months ago, he had some issues following YouTube's increased censorship, but to date his channel is still active.
First known for his 1983 bestseller Marijuana Horticulutre: The Indoor/Outdoor Medical Grower's Bible, horticulturist Jorge Cervantes (pseudonym of George Van Patten), has carved himself a niche also as a YouTuber. With over 18 million views, his channel is a go-to for all things growing.
Meanwhile in Spain, YouTuber makapeta uses his channel, which has garnered over 40 million views, to talk not only about nature and personal development, but also to communicate his passion for medical marijuana. This he does trough a playlist consisting of over a hundred videos where he shares tips on virtually anything from watering and flavour enhancing to how to make cannabis lotions and cakes.
Moving on to activism, one cannot avoid mentioning Canadian Jodie Emery. The activist, who was jailed together with his husband Marc Emery for illegal production and sale of cannabis, has spent years advocating for the plant. In 2004, when she was the editor of the magazine Cannabis Culture, she embarked on a pro-cannabis battle, even running as a political candidate - although without much success - all of which she shares on Twitter, were she counts over 46,500 followers.
Another Twitter account that is worth checking out is that of Carola Pérez, president of the Spanish Observatory on Medical Cannabis and one of the major advocates of the legalisation of therapeutic cannabis in Spain.
The queens of Instagram
To dive into Instagram is to discover a vast community of cannabis enthusiasts. One of them is Dabbing Granny, a grandmother with over 750,000 followers who posts videos of her smoking cannabis and, often, also drinking beer. Her vast collection of bongs is the ambition of every self-respecting cannabist.
Another prominent social media star is Sarah Jain, a trained model and actress whose real passion is marijuana. She started out in the days of MySpace, but it was not until 2015 that she realised she could make a living out of posing with cannabis products on Instagram, where she also posts fashion and beauty content, attracting the interest of influencers like artist Dani Isabelle and photographer Mariah Hagenbach, who will be soon photographing this year's most reputable women in the cannabis industry.
Traditional social media, though, are not the only online resources available to cannabis aficionados. MassRoots, for instance, helps users find dispensaries and identify members near them who also like smoking and gives them the possibility to share photos of their experiences, while High There connects cannabis enthusiasts together in the hope that they might find their other half. And if things don't work out, they can still share growing tips and recommend strains to one another. To cut it short, when it comes to the Internet and how to make the most of the cannabis plant, the sky is the limit.