In the wake of last week’s reports that Facebook had unexpectedly shut down marijuana pages of some medical marijuana dispensaries, the social media company has re-activated some marijuana pages—as long as they no longer display pictures of cannabis or information about prices.
Dispensary owners and patients both said this was a problem for them since dispensaries have had to rely on social media to communicate with their patients as a way of working around strict regulations on advertising and communications.
But now, Facebook has apparently allowed some dispensaries to re-open their pages, but only after all mentions of specific cannabis strains, products, prices, and photos of marijuana had been deleted.
“They don’t give you any guidance. We don’t know what we can refer to,” Michael Nelson, general manager of Compassionate Sciences Alternative Treatment Center, told reporters.
“The photos seemed to be an easy, obvious thing they had a problem with.”
Dispensary owners said they were given no warning that their Facebook pages were going to be removed. And the only explanations they say they’ve received about why their profiles were taken down have been references to Facebook’s Community Standards page.
“We prohibit any attempts by unauthorized dealers to purchase, sell, or trade prescription drugs, marijuana, or firearms,” that page says.
It goes on: “If you post an offer to purchase or sell alcohol, tobacco, or adult products, we expect you to comply with all applicable laws and carefully consider the audience for that content.”
Some have pointed out that there seems to be some confusion when it comes to that second sentence, arguing that legal medical marijuana dispensaries should be allowed to maintain profiles since they’re complying “with all applicable laws”—at least at the state level.
For many observers, the events of the last week and a half highlight some of the ongoing tensions between state laws that allow marijuana use and federal laws, which continue to define marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance.