Looking for medical marijuana? Take your search off Facebook. Or rather, Facebook is taking the search off Facebook. According to local reports in New Jersey, a state that has legalized the sale of cannabis for medical purposes, the social media giant has begun deleting dispensary pages, insisting that these businesses do “not follow the Facebook Community Terms and Standards.” The decision came as a surprise for both patients and the dispensaries, who say that their legal practices are being unfairly discriminated against. Many of these Facebook pages provide patients with up-to-date information and, of course, direct them towards relief for their ailments. But now, it looks like Facebook is butting in.
“It seems high-handed to simply shut down important resources for sick patients without even saying why or giving organizations a way to ask for reconsideration,” Peter Rosenfeld, one of the 5,668 registered patients in the New Jersey state program told NJ.com. “What better use of a social media than having sites where parents of sick children can ask questions about medication and treatments?” Clearly, Facebook disagrees.
While the social media platform has not responded to questions about their controversial decision to block these pages, they’ve consistently referred questions to a Community Standards page. There are, of course, guidelines against drug sales, but the page says nothing with regard to authorized drug vendors, which these dispensaries are.
Calling the ban “a great disservice to our patients who rely on us to keep them updated on what is going on,” Breakwater Wellness and Treatment Center in Cranbury founder Alex Zaleski told local media that both he and other officials associated with New Jersey dispensaries were “looking into the matter and hope to resolve it in the patients’ favor as soon as possible.”
This is by no means the first time Facebook has been accused of being far too stringent in applying some of its standards. The platform previously came under fire for its stance on mastectomy tattoos, which were claimed to violate nudity guidelines. Its opinion on that issue, however, was quickly changed, so perhaps the same fate will befall medical marijuana dispensaries.