Facebook Sides With Feds On Cannabis

There has been a lot of chatter in the Twittersphere this week about Facebook’s apparently backward marijuana policies and for good reason. The social media giant, who has become so ubiquitous within our culture that we’d sooner unplug from our municipal power grids than unsubscribe from its services, has frequently disappointed the cannabis movement with its continued adherence to federal law over the will of the states. Marijuana can often be a dirty word in Facebook’s virtual world, a lesson which more than a few aspiring ganjapreneurs have learned the hard way. This past week saw more of the same, when Facebook, citing their policy concerning the sale of illegal drugs, shut down the pages of three dispensaries in New Jersey as well as a few others around the country. The fact that these facilities were fully licensed, state sanctioned facilities operating in a jurisdiction where medical cannabis has been legal since 2011 apparently doesn’t matter, nor does the fact that 23 states now recognize the plant as having medical value.

As Engadget writes,

When asked for comment, a Facebook spokesperson told Engadget, ‘These pages have been removed for violating our Community Standards, which outline what is and is not allowed on Facebook. Here is a link to our standards.’ However, the community standards appear to only ‘prohibit attempts by unauthorized dealers to purchase, sell, or trade prescription drugs, marijuana, or firearms.’ Given that these organizations are legal within the states that they operate, they don’t technically meet that standard. However, going by federal law they would.

If it hadn’t already become so common, it would be utterly surprising that a company founded and presided over by a 31-year-old self-made billionaire would cling so tightly to such an anachronism of a law. Perhaps the cure for a progressive mind, like AIDS in South Park, is an ungodly amount of money. Or perhaps Zuckerberg was an establishment guy from the beginning.

There is good news, though, at least for New Jersey. Well, sort of good news. As of yesterday, the Associated Press has reported that the three pages that were shut down are now back up. Compassionate Sciences in Bellmawr had their page restored by Facebook after removing product photos and prices. Meanwhile, Breakwater Treatment and Wellness opted to just start a new page, this time hopefully toeing the prohibitionist line the social media outlet has drawn. Garden State is also back up, though it is unclear whether Facebook restored the original page or if the Woodbury dispensary took Breakwater’s route and made a new one.

In any case, it is somewhat encouraging that Facebook is willing to at least negotiate with these legitimate, state sanctioned business, though their choice to err on the side of caution until prohibition’s final breath is anything but.

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