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Why Is Cannabis Content Being Blocked In Singapore?


Recently Netflix revealed the instances in which it removed or blocked content due to government demand. In the 23 years that Netflix has offered its services, the company has only removed or blocked content as part of a government demand in 9 instances. One of those instances involved cannabis content.

Singapore reportedly demanded that Netflix block cannabis content to users located in the country back in 2018. Specifically, the country demanded that Netflix block ‘a California-based cannabis cooking sitcom,’ citing cannabis prohibition in Singapore as justification for the demand. According to the report, Singapore has made three demands in total, involving 5 pieces of content. New Zealand, Vietnam, Germany, and Saudi Arabia all made one demand each.

Entertainment is a common source for people’s first exposure to cannabis. In decades past that was a very bad thing because of the way that cannabis was portrayed in the media at the time. At the very birth of cannabis prohibition in the United States, the media was manipulated to help form negative opinions about cannabis among the population. Consumers were literally shown taking one hit from a joint, then jumping out of windows or harming those around them. Because the media can reach such a wide audience, propaganda born in the United States was spread far and wide and greatly influenced perceptions about cannabis around the world.

In more recent decades cannabis consumption was portrayed in the media as being the cause of laziness and contributing to lower IQ scores. It was a less extreme portrayal of cannabis consumers, yet it was still very inaccurate and unfair. Cannabis consumers were portrayed as deadbeats that were incapable of contributing to society, which is obviously ridiculous. Fortunately, that has started to change in recent years.

Platforms like Netflix have allowed producers to create content that is much more realistic and accurately reflects what cannabis consumers look and act like, with cannabis consumers coming from all walks of life and socioeconomic backgrounds. People at all levels of society consume cannabis, and it’s important that people know the truth about cannabis (the good and the bad).

Cannabis consumers in many areas don’t know what the best practices are when it comes to consuming cannabis responsibly. What is a good starting dosage? What is the difference between smoking cannabis versus eating food infused with cannabis? Those are great questions for a cannabis cooking show to tackle in a comprehensive way, which is why Singapore’s approach to blocking cannabis content is ridiculous (among many other reasons).

Prohibiting cannabis while working to prevent objective cannabis media coverage and blocking educational cannabis content falsely assumes that such a strategy will result in people completely refraining from consuming cannabis and/or seeking out cannabis information. Obviously, history has clearly demonstrated that people are going to obtain cannabis regardless of if it’s legal or not, and some will consume cannabis in an irresponsible way because they simply don’t know any better.

Government officials in Singapore likely know that if they can keep a stranglehold on cannabis content, they can control the narrative, a narrative that is largely built on fear and intimidation. Singapore is home to some of the harshest cannabis laws on the planet, with come offenses carrying the death penalty. Even personal possession can result in a decade in prison, and can even result in the offender being caned, so it’s not entirely surprising that Netflix cannabis content is blocked in Singapore, although it is still a very sad situation.