Twitch’s terms of service and community guidelines dictating how casters stream while casting can be confusing, especially where drugs are concerned.
Those rules came into question this afternoon when Snoop Dogg began smoking a blunt while streaming a promotional game, SOS, a game currently in early access. Snoop’s stream, which hovered around 80,000 viewers, didn’t get pulled down by Twitch administrators.
According to Twitch’s community guidelines, players must “respect all applicable local, national, and international laws while using our services. Any content or activity featuring, encouraging, or soliciting illegal activity is prohibited.” The guidelines also state that players must not participate in self-destructive behavior, which the company states as “activity that may endanger your life or lead to your physical harm is prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to: suicide threats, intentional physical trauma, use of illegal drugs, and drinking excessively.”
Up until Jan. 1, 2018, Snoop’s stream could have been in violation of Twitch’s standards because there’s no way to ensure it was purchased legally and you can’t prove it’s being used for medicinal purposes. On Jan. 1, however, the sale of recreational marijuana became legal in California. That means Snoop is smoking a drug he could have purchased legally, and he is abiding by the applicable laws set in place by the state of California. Although recreational marijuana became legal on Nov. 8, 2016, it wasn’t until Jan. 1 that dispensaries were able to start legally selling marijuana.
Colorado and Washington state were the first two states in America to legalize recreational marijuana, according to Vox. Since then, six other states, including Massachusetts and California, have also legalized weed; DC, however, like Vermont, did not legalize recreational marijuana. Polygon has reached out to Twitch for further clarification on how national and local rules, which sometimes contradict each other, are enforced.
Still, marijuana usage on stream continues to be a contentious issue. Last year, a streamer received a message from Twitch regarding the use of marijuana on stream, which read:
We discourage broadcasters from the use of marijuana on our services. If doing so violates your local laws, causes you to inflict harm upon yourself, or is a focus of your broadcasts, this activity is entirely prohibited from broadcast.
If broadcasters do engage in this activity, the Mature Content warning must be enabled.
Please refer to our “Rules of Conduct(Twitch’s Rules of Conduct)” regarding breaking the law, self destructive behavior, and non-gaming content for more information.
It’s important to note the use of the term illegal drugs, however, as Twitch has suspended and banned people in the past for using illegal drugs on screen. Most recently, actor Andy Dick was banned from Twitch on Jan. 18 for allegedly snorting cocaine while streaming, violating the company’s terms. Alcohol, on the other hand, is allowed on stream by casters who are of the legal drinking age in their country and aren’t too inebriated.
As long as Twitch’s community guidelines remain the same and the state of California keeps recreational marijuana legal, Snoop Dogg will be able to stream and smoke to his heart’s content.
Update: A Twitch representative told Polygon that “because legality varies from Country to Country and State to State, we encourage people to follow their local laws.”
Update 2: A series of Twitch clips cut by fans, seen below, suggest that Snoop Dogg wasn’t actually playing the game seen on stream. The first clip features Snoop talking to someone off camera, admitting that he wish he knew how to play the game. As one fan on Reddit pointed out, “he has transcended past the need for keyboard and mouse.”
“This shit is fun,” Snoop says. “I really wish I knew how to do all that shit you’re doing for me, though.”
The second clip stars Snoop lighting up a blunt as his on-screen character continues to run in the background.