By Ben Horner
The Lesvos Plant Medicine Conference Center Library (LPMCCL) is a library start-up devoted to plant medicine. LPMCCL focus is creating digital access to historical text and the latest plant medicine research for farmers, their children and “hemp-care” tourists visiting Lesvos, a Greek island in the Aegean Sea. Theophrastus, the founder of Western plant medicine, and Aristotle, student of Plato, studied natural life on Lesvos — Theophrastus began Botany and Aristotle documented Biology on the crossroad island between East and West.
LPMCCL founder, Jerome Poynton, has completed the first phases of the project by introducing the concept at the International Library Convention in Chicago in June of 2017. In 2018, Mr. Poynton, with the help of medical marijuana experts in the USA, began developing a worldwide market, LPMCCL Medical Cannabis Chocolate, to fund plant medicine librarian salaries. Currently LPMCCL full spectrum, cannabis chocolates are being sold in Michigan at licensed medical marijuana provisioning centers. Under the library’s label more products for the American and European market are in development to fund project vision.
On May 10th 2019 Mr. Poynton, released a call to ‘Young Farmers’ on Lesvos — with an interest in entering the world-wide green cannabis wave — to conference in seaside farming village of Vatera, on Lesvos’ — in Harry and Stephanie’s family-owned café on the beach. Many farmers were spoken to individually and a small group met to learn about the library and discuss the possibilities of creating a hemp/cannabis olive oil to serve the farmer’s interest and the vision of Lesvos Plant Medicine Conference Center Library.
LPMCCL announced the Young Farmer medical hemp/cannabis ‘growing’ program of Greek legal cannabis to create full spectrum, whole plant cannabis oil infused in Lesvos olive oil, making a unique “hemp/cannabis infused olive oil edible” blend for direct international export. The goal is to raise the value of olive oil on the Island for cultivators.
Attending were several young farmers from the island. These youngsters are subsidized by the Greek government to encourage the next generation of agriculture. Olive groves and sheep are the primary source of farming on the Island. Due to Italian dominance in the olive oil commerce in Greece, the market for olive oil is economically depressed. Jerome explained his plan to develop hemp cannabis farms in and around the olive groves. Setting a goal to experiment with different strain varieties. The farmers questioned how to get approval from Greek authorities for scaled hemp farming in the spring of 2020? A select group of volunteers agreed to test seeds this year and develop procedures for testing and compliance come Spring.
The following day, Poynton traveled inland, up serpentine mountain roads, to tour a new olive press. Overlooking the groves a local family installed a state of the art press, which is one of the few producing uncut olive only for commercial use on Lesvos. Discussions for cannabis-infused, medical grade olive oil to export around Europe and to the USA were optimistic and frank.
Operators interested in licensing Lesvos Plant Medicine Library products should contact Jerome Poynton at: LesvosPlantMedicineLibrary@gmail.com
By Meghan Smith
Cannabis culture is sweeping the globe, and the veil of false stigma is finally beginning to lift. However, sadly with the federal ban still in place, canna-businesses are struggling to market their brands and businesses on social media. Platforms such as Youtube, Facebook and Instagram have been famously restrictive of any canna-content, and use an array of AI technology and algorithms to monitor, police and silence the masses. Approximately one out of every six americans support the legalization and mainstreaming of Cannabis, yet can’t voice their opinions on social media without being targeted.
The past few years have seen a multitude of changes surrounding how these platforms have addressed canna-content. Facebook for example, did not even allow for cannabis related pages to show in users’ searches until approximately a year ago. Thankfully, the social media giant has finally changed their search restrictions and now allows for verified legally ran businesses to show in search results. This is a very small step in the right direction, yet there are still so many leaps and bounds to be made. Cannabis marketing experts say that there are ways to promote your business or products on social media, you just have to get creative. For example, avoiding certain keywords and phrases, and avoid posting pictures of the actual flower.
Social media is a powerful digital marketing platform, so these restrictions are severely impacting businesses’ abilities to reach their clientele. Facebook and Instagram do allow for the sale and/or marketing of certain cana-products such as CBD products, seeds, and paraphernalia. However, they still do not allow for the marketing of cannabis itself, even within states with full legalization such as here in Michigan. Facebook, as well as Instagram have recently even launched AI software that scans feeds for anything that resembles cannabis. It is becoming harder to distinguish what is allowed and what is considered a “policy violation” on the various platforms. Facebook does not outline any specific parameters besides to state “Ads must not promote the sale or use of illegal, prescription, or recreational drugs.”.In May of this year, Facebook’s chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer recently demonstrated the media giant’s new watchdog AI software at their annual developers conference. The program was able to distinguish a blown up image as being cannabis with 93.77 % accuracy. Instagram frequently uses a process called a shadow ban, which essentially hides certain hashtags from showing up in searches. Basically, even if your post is set as a public post, the only people that will see the hashtagged content are your immediate followers.
In an attempt to minimize their own risk of social media bans, a lot of canna-companies have taken to paying weed-fluencers to do the work for them. It takes the heat off of their profiles, but at a greater financial cost due to having to pay the influencers to take the post ban risk onto themselves. Another strategy is to work with publications, such as magazines and newspapers. Because the content is considered editorial, it can be shared on social media via their pages and platforms which again minimizes the risk to the company’s pages. LinkedIn seems to be the only mainstream social media platform that does not actually ban cannabis content, however it is not generally a preferred marketing platform. There are also cannabis specific platforms such as Potsmoking.com, and Grasscity Forums however those platforms do not even come close to the reach that Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube command.
Individuals using their own private accounts to market or advertise cannabis products can be at risk of post bans, and repeat offenders may even have their pages permanently deleted. I personally have had my own accounts banned for periods of time due to my various roles in the industry. So why exactly is it that we live in a legal state, operate legally licensed businesses, yet are not allowed to use social media to market our businesses or products? Well the answer ultimately lies with the federal government’s refusal to lift the blanket ban on the nation as a whole. Until they lift the schedule status of cannabis, platforms are too reluctant to take in any revenue for cannabis advertising.
Recently it was announced that an official lawsuit has been filed against Facebook Inc, the social media giant that controls both Facebook and Instagram. Felicia Palmer, founder of the longest-running hip-hop news website in the world, SOHH.com, and her new company, Cannaramic Media, Inc, filled the lawsuit with the help of Litigation attorney, David C. Holland, Esq., who serves as the Executive Director for the New York chapter of national marijuana advocacy organization, NORML. The filing came in response to multiple advertisements, intended to promote their educational Cannaramic Online Summit, were rejected as well as their follower profile banned temporarily. The suit comes at a perfect time, it was filed the same day that the White House announced that they will be monitoring Facebook censorship.
We the people here in Michigan voiced ourselves loud and clear by voting to legalize cannabis, however we still can’t utilize the world’s largest marketing platform!? Doesn’t seem fair does it? Just one more way for the federal government to try to keep us quiet, but we won’t be silenced so easily. We will continue to brand, and we will continue to advocate. Keep up the good fight fellow Ganjapreneurs! #FreeMyBuds