People Behind the Plant #1: Lauren Gibbs Fights to Promote Pot Online

Because cannabis deserves all the rights of any other adult business.

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."

Gibbs' digital consulting firm, Rise Above Social Strategies, was a founding member of  Women Grow––an organization with a mission to empower women business leaders within the regulated-marijuana space. The last two years have seen rise to a massive Internet presence and social media following for the group. 

The Denver, Colorado-based agency now serves a growing cannabis industry clientele, which includes Willie's Reserve, the designer cannabis concept from Willie Nelson. 

“For many women in cannabis business, our consumption is more than a habit,” continues Gibbs. “It is a cause. We came out of the cannabis closet because we know we have the power to change stereotypes. To advance a cause in 2016 without freedom in social media, is fighting with our hands tied behind our backs.”

Gibbs, who says she plans on serving cannabis at her wedding, recently published an op-ed via The Cannabist. The call-to-action, directed at Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, suggests that Facebook allow responsible cannabis content to be promoted in a manner compliant with state regulations and best-practice business ethics.

On the same day, Gibbs launched #EndTheSocialCannaban, a social-media campaign that seeks to further the role of digital communities in righting the wrongs of the War on Drugs: “Images of normalization force people to see how insane the drug war really is.”