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Social Media & Policy Change
People Behind the Plant #1: Lauren Gibbs Fights to Promote Pot Online
“…Lauren Gibbs operates where emerging tech and one of the legal pot industry’s most problematic issues intersect: Social media. Posting and promoting cannabis content is hard enough for anyone on the mainstream social communities. It is especially difficult for brands and businesses that stand to profit from a weedy status update.
‘Paid advertising on [mainstream social media] platforms is completely unavailable to cannabis businesses,” Gibbs tells The KIND, “even though the platforms have the technology to geo-target in legal states and restrict content based on the age of users…’”
“…I typically vape daily,” said Lauren Gibbs, a social media trainer and founder of Rise Above Social Strategies. “As a result, my migraines are more controlled than they have been in the eight years since my diagnosis of chronic migraine,” a condition for which she has been hospitalized twice and formerly took 17 pills a day to treat.
Gibbs, 34, moved to Colorado a little more than two years ago from Washington, D.C., but only in the past few months hasshe “come out” to her parents as a marijuana user.
“It’s become a pretty significant part of my business now, and I felt like there was no reason to hide it,” said Gibbs, also a member of Women Grow…”
“…Lauren Gibbs, Founder, Rise Above Social Strategies: “Paid advertising on [mainstream social media] platforms is completely unavailable to cannabis businesses…”
Cannabist Show: She’s a social media pro; He plans national expansion
“…Featured guests: Rise Above Social Strategies founder Lauren Gibbs and Mindful director of government and public affairs Erik Williams. “We’re talking about problems legal marijuana businesses are having with social media and sudden shutdowns of their accounts on Instagram, Twitter and others; Willie Nelson’s new line of Willie’s Reserve weed shops; planning a cannabis-friendly wedding…”
Tech giants like Facebook and Google don’t allow users to post ads that sell cannabis or promote recreational drug use. But activists say these policies are inconsistently enforced, and lots of acceptable content gets blocked.
“…When Colorado-based cannabis brand strategist Lauren Gibbs heard about this, she was upset but not surprised. Gibbs has worked with several major cannabis brands, including Women Grow, the largest cannabis industry networking organization in the country, and Willie’s Reserve, the upcoming line of cannabis products from folk singer Willie Nelson…”
“…Social media provides the opportunity for a dialogue about cannabis, showing people that it’s normal. A lot of people still aren’t comfortable walking into a dispensary, but with social media you can create an image of a company that people can relate to and feel comfortable with their product,” said Lauren Gibbs, president of Rise Above Social Strategies, which helps marijuana companies cultivate an online presence…”
“…A social media consultant wrote an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg about cannabis. Facebook has been inhospitable, to say the least, to many cannabusiness accounts. Lauren Gibbs reminds Zuckerberg that the approach serves to reinforce the failed war on drugs instead of helping to end it…”
Social strategist Lauren Gibbs is calling on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to take a stand against the social media censorship of cannabis businesses and consumers.
“…As the pace of these shutdowns surges, one social media guru vowed not to stand by and wait for it to happen to her. On 4/20, Rise Above Social founder Lauren Gibbs, who has directed social content for companies such as Women Grow and Willie’s Reserve, published an imposing and impressive open letter to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg on The Cannabist.
She applauded Zuck’s commitment to connecting humanity through social media and pressed him to respect the freedom of expression of cannabis-related accounts and to grant cannabis companies the same advertising terms, with age restrictions and geo-tracking that serve alcohol companies…”
“…Lauren Gibbs, a 35-year-old, pink-haired social media strategist for the female cannabis entrepreneur organization Women Grow and Willie Nelson’s cannabis company Willie’s Reserve, is currently planning a cannabis wedding of her own, for this July.
“I hear it’s kind of a stressful day. I would love to be a little high,” Gibbs tells Bustle. “Just like some women would like to have a glass of champagne while they’re having their hair done — well, champagne is just not for me — but I would like something to put me at ease for that day…”
“…One reaction we haven’t heard is what a huge impact this seemingly novel concept can have on the political landscape. While I was at the event, I spoke with industry expert Lauren Gibbs, owner of Rise Above Social Strategies and the brains behind the social media for Women Grow and Willie’s Reserve. She explained: “Because a lot of people attending your wedding may not be exposed to cannabis on any other occasion, this is an opportunity to change their minds, and that could result in them changing their vote if cannabis legalization is on the ballot in their home state.”
Gibbs is planning a cannabis-inclusive wedding later this year. She said, “This may be the first time most of your guests will be exposed to open cannabis consumption in a normalized setting. So that means that you have a responsibility to do it right. Doing it right doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of money, but it is important to educate people on how to consume responsibly…”
“…When Lauren Gibbs gets married in rural Colorado this July, she’ll wear a traditional white dress in front of about a hundred guests. She and her fiance will exchange vows, then celebrate into the night.
A big, countryside ranch will host. The Colorado River cuts through the property. Surrounded by Rocky Mountain nature, alpine forests collide with blue sky where friends and family will toast the bride and groom.
“It will be the picturesque, classic Colorado wedding,” Gibbs tells me…”
“…Lauren Gibbs, a cannabride, guest speaker at the event, and the social media guru behind many different weed brands, including Women Grow, sat down with me to talk about her weed wedding and some of the setbacks she had in the planning process. Gibbs has long pink hair and was wearing her engagement ring, as well as a weed leaf charm bracelet. “I knew I wanted a cannabis wedding,” Gibbs said.
She even sacrificed her dream venue in order to have cannabis at the ceremony—although cannabis can be legally consumed in private spaces, many wedding venues in the state still aren’t too keen on the idea.”I found the absolute perfect place, but they wouldn’t allow me to serve cannabis. They said it was illegal, which it’s obviously not [in Colorado].” Gibbs had to go through several options before she found a place that fit her wedding aesthetic and also allowed her to have weed present. “It’s a ranch,” she said, “so they just asked me to make sure no one gives any edibles to the goats.”