YouTube Loosens Restrictions On Cannabis Content, Will Allow Monetization

This article by Natalia Kesselman was originally published on El Planteo, and appears here with permission.

Until now, YouTube, owned by Alphabet Inc. GOOG GOOGL, has maintained tight restrictions on the monetization of marijuana and drug-related content.

What does this mean?

That no channel, be it a media outlet, brand, group or individual, was allowed to generate money from videos that include such content.

The restrictions have been very strict, no matter how serious or informative the content is or how many views the video gets. This has gone so far that individuals or channels have been suspended or demonetized for breaking the rules.

However, this could soon change.

Perhaps because of the advancement of marijuana legislation in the U.S. and various Latin American countries, YouTube seems to have updated its policies. The platform has reportedly eased restrictions on cannabis, "recreational drugs and drug-related content," as reported by Digitaltrends.

According to Gizmodo, this would allow users to monetize material that "focuses on the purchase, manufacture or distribution of drugs." With these changes, marijuana-related advertisers or brands could advertise on YouTube videos.

However, this relaxation of the rules does not mean that anything can be monetized. The new rules apply only to information presented in an objective, informative, educational and "non-glorified" manner.

For those who broadcast data that does not meet these qualities, the restrictions will remain in place. This refers to channels that "show or discuss the abuse, purchase, manufacture, sale or discovery of drugs or drug-related implements in a graphic and detailed manner".

The new update would take effect in April, 2021.

New YouTube rules for marijuana

These are, according to YouTube, the new, more relaxed rules.

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Education; music; humorous statements or references to drugs or drug paraphernalia that do not glorify drugs; drugs in a music video.

Some examples of content that also fall into this category:

  • Talk about drugs or drug paraphernalia in the context of science, such as the scientific effects of drug use.
  • Talking about drugs where the intent is not to promote or glorify drug use, such as a personal story about the opioid crisis.
  • Focus on drug busts or drug trafficking in the context of news content, but without visible use or distribution.
  • Music videos with fleeting depictions of drugs.
  • Focus on drug purchase, manufacturing or distribution, such as home opioid manufacturing, news reports on cannabis farms.

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Content that focuses on the visualization or effects of drug use; or the creation or distribution of drugs or drug paraphernalia in a comedic, non-educational or non-documentary context.

Some examples of content that also fall into this category:

  • Dramatized content depicting recreational drug use.
  • Music videos with focal drug depiction.
  • Drug use in a news report without glorification or promotion.

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Content that depicts or discusses the abuse, purchase, manufacture, sale or discovery of drugs or drug paraphernalia in graphic detail.

Some examples of content that also fall into this category:

  • Promotion or glorification of recreational drugs.
  • Advice or recommendations about drug use.
  • Focusing on the recreational drug industry, such as cannabis coffee shops, paraphernalia stores or cannabis grow shops.
  • Provide practical guides on use (including consumption and effects), purchase, manufacturing and/or distribution of drugs, i.e. how to find a dealer or the best places to get high.

Read the original article on El Planteo

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Photo by Christian Wiediger via Unsplash 

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