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STEVE ELLIOTT

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weirdness This is what greeted Toke Signals Editor Steve Elliott when he attempted to log into Facebook at 8:24 Friday night.
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This is what greeted Toke Signals Editor Steve Elliott when he attempted to log into Facebook at 8:24 Friday night.

Here’s some weirdness for you. In what has to rank as one of the stranger experiences in my 11 years on Facebook, I just got blocked from the behemoth social media platform for a photo I posted… in 2012.

Sometime in early 2013, Facebook changed its policy regarding posting photos of marijuana. After the change, users could get their accounts suspended for posting prices with pot pictures. My then-job as official dispensary critic/marijuana reviewer for the Seattle Weekly (just the second such reviewer in the nation, after only Denver Westword‘s William Breathes) quickly got me in trouble, as someone started reporting that I was “posting pot prices.”

Facebook administration is, at best, a blunt instrument; the site’s overseers certainly couldn’t accused of being particularly intelligent or perceptive, and in their minds, the presence of a price with a photo of cannabis meant that I was a drug dealer. I was banned in 2013, at first for 24 hours, then again for 48, when I persisted in doing my job (reporting marijuana prices and availability — legal medical marijuana, mind you), then for a week, and finally for 30 days a couple different times.

The 2012 "Toke Signals" marijuana review column which used the photo in question [Seattle Weekly]
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The 2012 “Toke Signals” marijuana review column which used the photo in question
[Seattle Weekly]

But it had been awhile, as in a couple years, since those battles had been fought. I finally gave up the ability to post pot prices any longer, resigning myself to the unhappy fact that some miserable twitch could find nothing better to do with his or her life energy than to comb my Facebook posts for something — anything — to report.

Now the weirdness has happened again, and I can only assume that someone who was unhappy with, maybe, some of my anti-Trump political postings (which, of course, will continue and be redoubled as soon as the ban is lifted next month), or perhaps for my dog cussings, which are dispensed rather freely to those who exhibit a certain proud ignorance which I find inexcusably annoying.

The photo in question was posted in December 2012, and portrays some tasty Strawberry Cough I found at Tacoma Cross, a since-shuttered medical marijuana dispensary in Tacoma, Washington. The Seattle Weekly “Toke Signals” column (I coined the name “Toke Signals,” thus owned it, and elected to keep it for this blog) in which the photo in question was used and the Strawberry Cough reviewed was dated December 19, 2012/

The state’s medical marijuana system has since been supplanted and shut down by the implementation of I-502 and more particularly its subsidiary legislation, SB 5052, which decreed that all marijuana stores in the state had to have recreational I-502 licenses after July 2, 2016. While there were thousands of medical dispensaries, only 222 licenses were available — and many good shops had to close for good, meaning many patients lost their trusted mentors and suppliers.

Now. To my many Facebook contacts, including 5,000 friends, 8,000 followers and 19,000 Toke Signals Facebook page followers, I am blocked from posting, commenting, and even private messaging until December 11. In the meantime, email me at ; I check that account many times a day.

Stay Lifted!

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