The FCC recently announced plans to slash Net Neutrality regulations, in effect ending a free and open internet for all. If these plans come to fruition, not only can you expect to see prices rise but ISP’s and major media conglomerates will be able to control exactly what you see and how you access the internet. These new regulations would effectively disable free speech from the face of the internet and could spell the end of an open and unfiltered internet for all. Read on to find out exactly how this will affect the cannabis industry and what you can do to help!
On December 14th the FCC will attempt a vote to take away the common principle known as net neutrality. Currently Title 2 enacted in 2015 maintains that no content on the web would be held in higher esteem or serviced at higher speeds by ISP’s. This keeps all websites on fair and equal footing and allows you to access whatever parts of the internet you would like to see. If these rules were to be abolished, the company that you buy your internet from can severely limit or control what websites or services you access. This could come in the form of tiered service packages similar to what you see for cable or satellite TV. Each plan or add on could include different websites or services you would access. Imagine paying $30 to get your email and Facebook but paying $5 a month if you also want to check your Twitter. It would be like if the electrical company controlled what appliances you could power with their electricity. Not only would the internet be segmented and effectively hidden behind a paywall, but ISP’s could choose to block any content they see as unfit or illegal. If you currently live in a state that is non-medicinal or recreational, this means you could lose access to information about cannabis, medical marijuana law changes or federal regulations.
This could also greatly impact cannabis businesses as even their social media accounts could be essentially banned from the eyes of users who do not pay for those services. If your ISP were to choose to strictly adhere to federal regulations, you may be prohibited from visiting cannabis based websites even in a recreational state! All of this means that the age of internet freedom could cease as soon as next month, so what can you do to change the future?
First off, contact your local representatives! Head to Battle For The Net, an extremely handy website that will connect your phone directly to the office of influential legislative members in your area. Even if you suffer from social anxiety you will only have to leave a message and a script is provided for you directly on the Battle For The Net page. (And if you wanted to also drop some additional comments about cannabis that would be cool too.) Be courteous, state your name and tell them you support Title 2 of the FCC’s regulations on Net Neutrality and want to protect a free and open internet for all. Something else you can do is make sure your friends and family are informed about what exactly net neutrality is and why it’s so important. The more people who understand means the more we have on our side!