The Tube gods

Ngaio Bealum is a Sacramento comedian, activist and marijuana expert. Email him questions at

So I went to watch some of my favorite cannabis-infused YouTube channels, and I can’t seem to find them. There’s a notice that says, “This account has been terminated due to multiple or severe violations of YouTube’s policy against spam, deceptive practices, and misleading content or other Terms of Service violations.” What gives?

—Sasha L. Meddia

No one really knows. What we do know is that last month, YouTube started shutting down cannabis-based channels from all over the world. YouTube hasn’t offered any explanations, and there is no clear-cut pattern for who gets deleted. There is still plenty of cannabis content on YouTube, leaving many cannabis-laced content creators perplexed and perturbed. After all, many people rely on their YouTube channels, not just to reach a global audience, but to generate a little revenue. Coral Reefer, a California-based cannabis activist and YouTuber, (her show Stoney Sunday had thousands of subscribers) sent me this statement:

“The crackdown on cannabis content by YouTube is not just poorly timed, with legalization making huge strides forward across the country, but also inconsistent, they seem to have only targeted independent content creators and not large corporate partners who also occasionally feature cannabis. Independent voices are being silenced and patients are the ones to suffer, as the information that could connect them with life-changing medicine is being pulled from the network. YouTube seems to want to compete with Netflix and in their race to the top. They’re hurting the content creators and our cannabis community.”

Jorge Cervantes, longtime cannabis cultivator, author and creator of popular how-to videos, also had his channel shut down, although you can still find his videos, at least the ones that have been posted by other people, on YouTube. Cervantes tried to post a video expressing his feelings about having his channel deleted, but YouTube deleted that video as well.

There’s not much anyone can do about it. YouTube is a private company, and we mere content-consuming mortals are not privy to, and have no influence on their arcane and profane algorithmic conjurations. I suppose we could rally against monopolies and wail about trusting multinational corporations never doing the right thing, but what would it accomplish? There are a few folks trying to create a 420-friendly YouTube-type internet channel (Check out but one of the benefits of posting a video on YouTube is that your content has a chance to be seen by people that aren’t deep in the cannabis subculture, rather than a small but mighty group of stoners. Time will tell if YouTube will see the error of its ways, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. I am so sorry for your loss.

Hey man, How do I learn how to roll a joint?

—Al Thumbs

Well, you could watch one of the hundreds of videos about it on YouTube. Weird. Really, videos are cool, but you just need to practice. Roll five joints a day for the next week. You will be a pro in no time.