In recent months, YouTube has been regularly shutting down cannabis-focused channels. The cannabis industry has come to refer to this sudden act as the “YouTube cannabis marketing purge.”

Marketing is a tricky vocation. Several elements must be united in the creation of a successful campaign and subsequent brand. For example, those working in marketing understand the challenges of aligning the vision of their creative team with the overall business. And of course, all these visions and plans must finally fall in line with the expectations of the client. When it comes to marketing in the cannabis space, the complexity of marketing grows exponentially. Because, government regulatory agencies create a strict firewall between ad campaigns and the public eye.

Digital communications platforms like Facebook and YouTube are in a tough situation concerning cannabis marketing campaigns. Stigmas surrounding cannabis use, mostly related to federal prohibition, drove these media giants to take action against cannabis ads. To illustrate, cannabis-centric content is regularly removed from Facebook, especially concerning such paid marketing tools as boosts.

Who’s Effected?

YouTube has long been considered a cannabis friendly digital media platform. Therefore, the company’s recent actions sent shock waves across an increasingly tech-savvy cannabis culture. According to a Leafly report, YouTube began shutting down a wide variety of “cannabis-related” channels in late March 2018, the content of these videos mostly includes grow instructions and marijuana lifestyle. To gain a better understanding of who’s effected, High Times Magazine interviewed cannabis media company Loaded Up Entertainment – the group had about 200,000 followers on the YouTube. In the interview, the people from Loaded Up Entertainment reported that they received warnings, or strikes, on their YouTube channel for seemingly innocent content, such as discussions about “getting the munchies.” Unfortunately for Loaded Up Entertainment, their YouTube channel was shut down upon receiving three strikes from the network. Gone with it are years of work in developing a digital following of that caliber and dedication.

What Sort of Content and Why? 

The censorship of YouTube channel content was a hot topic in 2017. As such, many cannabis industry experts feel that the purge might be a trickle-down effect from a larger crackdown. For example, an article states, “It seems as if YouTube isn’t targeting weed content specifically, as much as drugs have been trawled in a much larger fishing net.” That being said, controversy has also arisen around YouTube channels featuring graphic imagery. Similarly, gun advocacy channels experienced similar shutdowns to those seen with the cannabis content purge. Looking at YouTube’s recent actions holistically, it can only be assumed that a number of these factors have combined to motivate their agenda. Also, correlations could be drawn between larger interests.

Some people feel that there are connections between big business advertising money and the recent crackdown by YouTube management. Leafly reports that in 2017, YouTube underwent some internal changes to solve problems with ad campaigns being displayed alongside “inappropriate content.” As such, the report speculates that some of YouTube’s major financial contributors began pulling-out of the media platform due to a lack of internal controls on content. It’s safe to say that economic pressures such as these have had a serious role to play in the YouTube cannabis marketing purge.

How Cannabrand Can Help

With a five-year track record as the cannabis industry’s premier marketing agency, Cannabrand is used to weathering the sort of storms seen with YouTube. Our digital marketing team understands the difficulties of marketing in the cannabis space. To this end, we know that success in the cannabis industry requires a strategic presence as well as creativity and perseverance. As such, Cannabrand’s marketing campaigns are crafted to meet the most current demands of the industry. Similarly, they are built with flexibility and longevity in mind.

Concerning the YouTube cannabis marketing purge, there are a few ways Cannabrand can help you post cannabis marketing video content online. For starters, we facilitate self-hosted videos for your cannabis business website or blog. This process leads to increased traffic on your website as well as better SEO rankings. Secondly, our digital marketing team creates advertising videos that are aired on Instagram. This method has been shown to rapidly stimulate brand followings. All things considered, Cannabrand is well-versed in projects of this nature and ensures maximum impact with video marketing campaigns.

For additional information about digital marketing in the cannabis space, please contact us at