The picture pretty much sums the conundrum up.
Is it ok for individuals to promote pot on these social networking services?
Should social networks allow marijuana dispensaries to have organizational presences?
(from an e-mail from Fast Company promoting this article)
The question is, whose laws do social networks have to follow? The Web may seem borderless, but as companies like Google and Yahoo have found in China and, more recently, Twitter and Facebook found in Iran, virtual boundaries do exist. So what’s a company like Facebook or Twitter to do? It will be interesting to see how Silicon Valley finesses this one, particularly because the companies are based in California where the dispensaries are considered legitimate enterprises (at least in the eyes of the law).
I poked around on twitter and found a whole Marijuana movement
along with the Stoner Nation Facebook page and Stoner Nation Twitter and on Blogger and their own site.
Interestingly I searched in Facebook to find the stoner nation page and it was not listed when typed as two words but was when I typed it the way their name is listed as one word – StonerNation .
It is not a surprise to see seems there are many fans of Stoner Nation who are using Facebook accounts without their real names. Like Oregon Slacker , Stoner Stuff, and Drink Moxie.
I think this liminal space between the legal and illegal (at least this is factually the case in california) is quiet interesting. The freedom to express oneself and organize around change is something that is important to maintain on the web – clearly these three people have chosen to weave a line – expressing their opinion and support and involvement around marijuana online and not releasing their “real names” on facebook or twitter where they are expressing support and involvement in movement organizing but making the choice that saying who they are may negatively affect them in their ‘daily life’ – whether it be a small town where they live that would be unaccepting or a profession they hold that would not be understanding. I think these rights and issues go beyond “just” drug use but also extend to sexual and other minorities. The marijuana community is activating right now because there is a ballot initiative here in 2010 to legalize pot and tax it (potentially generating 1.2 billion dollars in revenue annually for the state).
I think a question we all have in building the evolving open and social web is how do we support citizens having the freedom to express themselves online and in social contexts. What are the particulars of online identity that enable this as a possibility and don’t rule the fundamental right of freedom of expression out? I am specifically thinking about the equivalent to anonymously joining a social movement march in the physical world.