David Rheins, executive director of the Marijuana Business Association, has a beef with cannabis influencers: It’s “a bullshit marketing thing that people pay into,” he recently told the Talking Hedge podcast. “I think payola is alive and well in social media.”

East Bay Express reports:

“It’s impossible to know whether a person is praising a product that deserves such praise. One of the more popular weedfluencers, Koala Puffs, told MG Retailer magazine that the most important thing to her is that “the content has to feel genuine. With authenticity, the audience you attract will be organic and loyal.”

Whether it “feels” genuine is, of course, up to the audience, which in Koala Puffs’ case numbers nearly 700,000 on Instagram alone. “It depends on how you define ‘authentic,'” Rheins said. “One can confuse and conflate authenticity with popularity.”

Read the whole thing.