Amazon-owned Twitch bans streamers from promoting marijuana but allows alcohol labeling in policy update

Video game streaming company Twitch has updated its branding guidelines for streamers, banning advertising for marijuana companies and products but specifically allowing alcohol partnerships.

While the Amazon-owned live streaming hub has made a U-turn on other unrelated aspects of the new brand policy changes introduced this week after significant opposition from the gaming community, it currently stands by its cannabis ban.

The branded content policy covers product placements, endorsements, sponsored gameplay, paid unboxing and branded channels. A list of banned brand deals states that streamers cannot be paid to promote “cannabis-related products, including e-cigarettes, delivery and CBD.”

However, the guidelines provide for an exception for alcohol, allowing streamers to get paid to promote alcohol as long as the products are labeled “as adult content.”

In addition to cannabis, gamers are also subject to restrictions on branding weapons, adult content, tobacco products, medical facilities, and political content.

Marijuana Moment contacted Twitch for comment on the policy distinction, but a representative was not immediately available.

One streamer, JimTanna, noted the discrepancy between Twitch’s cannabis and alcohol rules and said “everyone is confused” about the update, which he says would affect users’ ability to make a living from the service.

Interestingly, last year Twitch clarified the rules to include cannabis – by removing references to marijuana from the list of banned usernames, just as it does for alcohol and tobacco.

Twitch’s parent company, Amazon, is also lobbying for state legislation to legalize marijuana. In addition, the company has internally implemented more advanced policies for employee marijuana drug testing.

Other tech companies have revised their policies around cannabis as more states seek legalization and the market grows.

For example, Twitter removed a feature that had previously suggested to users who searched the site for certain drug-related keywords, including “marijuana,” to consider drug treatment. No such suggestion had surfaced for the search for “alcohol.”

In an update to Apple’s iPhone software last year, users were given the ability to track medications and learn about potential drug interactions with other substances — including marijuana.

In 2021, Apple ended its policy of blocking cannabis companies from conducting business on its App Store. Marijuana delivery service Eaze then announced that consumers could shop and pay for products through its iPhone app for the first time.

Last year, New York’s marijuana regulators asked social media app TikTok to lift their ban on advertising the word “cannabis” as they work to increase public education about the state’s legalization efforts.

On Facebook, federally legal cannabis companies, advocacy groups, and government agencies like the California Bureau of Cannabis Control have complained about a “shadow ban” because their profile pages don’t show up in a traditional search. In 2018, there were reports that the social media giant would relax its restrictive cannabis policy, but it’s unclear what steps it took to make that happen.

The same problem exists on Facebook-owned Instagram, where people keep saying their accounts have been removed from the app for marijuana-related content, even though they didn’t promote the sale or use of cannabis.

Unlike Apple, Google’s Android app hub updated its policies in 2019 to specifically ban programs that associate users with cannabis, regardless of whether it is legal in the jurisdiction where the user resides .

Nevada lawmakers are sending the governor a marijuana omnibus bill that would increase possession limits and remove industry barriers

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