The business pages of a number of medical marijuana dispensaries in Tulsa, Oklahoma, have been disabled by Facebook. Out of the businesses affected, as many as 8 dispensaries are now suing Facebook over what they term as “a pattern of targeting the Oklahoma medical marijuana industry.”
Led by the Ye Olde Apothecary Shoppe, the companies seek an order from the court that would prevent the social media giant from further targeting their pages.
“Facebook has an arbitrary, subjective, biased and archaic policy which does not apply to all,” the lawsuit read. “It seems just random and there isn’t any way for us to contact anyone from Facebook to get some assistance. They hide behind their keyboards and release whatever punishment they feel like if they suspect that you have committed an infraction to their set community standards.”
The social media website, however, hasn’t responded yet to the petition or local media’s request for a response. In the wake of the federal legalization of cannabis in Canda, Facebook made many significant changes to its policies towards marijuana businesses. It even announced that it wouldn’t filter marijuana companies out of search results, provided they took the necessary steps to get verified on the platform.
“We are committed to improving our search results so that we minimize the chances for people to attempt illegal drug sales, while showing content that is relevant to what you are searching,” Facebook spokesperson Sarah Pollack said at the time.
This is not the first time that Facebook has censored marijuana business pages. In February, a Tucson-based hemp business reported being restricted several times from promoting their hemp tamales, which are completely legal since the passage of the new US Farm Bill, 2018.
Owing to the complexities of the social media guidelines for cannabis, many entrepreneurs are now focussing more on strategies that aren’t too much social media-dependent.