Facebook shuts down medical marijuana pages in New Jersey

TRENTON, N.J. -- Three of New Jersey's five medical marijuana dispensaries have had their business pages shutdown by Facebook, cutting off what advocates call an integral place for customers to learn about which plant strains best treat their illness and where to find discounts.

See Full Article

Compassionate Sciences in Bellmawr, Garden State in Woodbridge, and Breakwater Treatment and Wellness in Cranbury had their pages shut down this week.

Facebook's advertising policy bans promotion of selling drugs -- as well as tobacco and guns -- and the medical marijuana pages weren't spared even though they have been legally allowed to operate in New Jersey since 2011.

The shutdowns reflect similar measures taken by the social media giant in other parts of the country. At one point last year, Facebook took down the page for the Harborside Health Center, a dispensary in Oakland, California, although the page is now up and running.

"It's doing a real disservice to the patients of New Jersey," said Peter Rosenfeld, a board member of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana -- New Jersey. "They're treating it like they're selling marijuana illegally when it's a fully sanctioned non-profit that's controlled and regulated by the state of New Jersey."

But a spokeswoman for Facebook, Arielle Aryah, said in an email Wednesday to The Associated Press that the pages were "removed for violating our Community Standards."

More than 5,500 patients have registered for medical marijuana in New Jersey and more than 300 doctors have participated.

Amy Marie Keller, 40, of Roselle Park in northern New Jersey, said she checked the Garden State dispensary's Facebook page daily. She suffers from Variegate Porphyria, a disorder that limits the amount of oxygen in her blood and can cause seizures and painful intestinal issues.

The best brands that work for her -- Blackwater, Sour Diesel and Nigerian Haze -- are often in limited supply. Knowing when they're available is important, she said.

"Now I have no idea," she said. "I tried calling but they didn't pick up. Probably everybody is calling. I would hate to tie up their phone lines and bother them every morning about that."

Mike Nelson, the general manager for Compassionate Sciences dispensary, said Facebook has been the business's primary communication tool. The dispensary announced on Facebook rather than its website that it has a new or cheaper strain of marijuana that is high in properties that help treat the symptoms of multiple sclerosis and epilepsy.

Facebook, based in Menlo Park, California, has also served as an online forum for quality control when it comes to various brands, which carry names like Charlotte's Web and Golden Goat. Advocates say the pages facilitate discussion among customers and purveyors about the benefits and drawbacks of certain strains.

"There's nothing out there that says the Golden Goat in California is the same one as the Golden Goat in New Jersey," Nelson said. "It makes it more localized, which is important because there are no control factors."

Aaron Epstein, the general manager and general counsel for Garden State, said he'll find another way to serve patients if Facebook continues its policy.

"If Facebook doesn't want to be a part of that, that's their prerogative," he said. "We'll find other avenues to get information to our patients."



Advertisements

Latest Economic News

  • British Airways aims to recover from IT failure

    Economic CTV News
    LONDON -- British Airways said Sunday it was still working to restore its computer systems but hoped to resume flights from London airports, a day after a global IT failure crippled its services. The airline said that it hopes to operate a "near normal schedule" at Gatwick and the "majority of services" from Heathrow on Sunday. Source
  • Canadian teenagers smarter than most about money, OECD finds

    Economic CBC News
    Canadian teenagers are more financially literate than most people their age in other rich countries, but more than one out of eight still fails to meet what the OECD considers a baseline level of proficiency in the topic. Source
  • People with serious food allergies want impostors to stop faking it in restaurants

    Economic CBC News
    Sarah Elliott has had it with people faking food allergies in restaurants. She has life-threatening allergies to eggs, dairy and nuts and fears the impostors are hurting her chances of safely dining out. Source
  • GM's emissions scandal and dangerous avocados: CBC's Marketplace consumer cheat sheet

    Economic CBC News
    If you've been too busy to follow the consumer news this week, here's our cheat sheet. And you can get the Marketplace newsletter in your inbox every week. GM accused of emissions cheating A class-action suit in the U.S. Source
  • CN Rail employees issue strike notice

    Economic CTV News
    MONTREAL -- A union representing employees at CN Rail is threatening job action to back contract demands. The Teamsters union has given the company 72 hour strike notice and could legally walk off the job Tuesday morning. Source
  • British Airways cancels flights amid global computer outage

    Economic CTV News
    LONDON -- British Airways cancelled all flights from London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports Saturday as a global IT failure caused severe disruption for travellers on a busy holiday weekend. The airline said it was suffering a "major IT systems failure" around the world. Source
  • Computer outage grounds hundreds of British Airways flights in London

    Economic CTV News
    LONDON -- British Airways cancelled all flights from London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports on Saturday as a global IT failure upended the travel plans of tens of thousands of people on a busy U.K. holiday weekend. Source
  • British Airways outage spurs London travel chaos; power issue blamed

    Economic CTV News
    LONDON -- British Airways cancelled all flights from London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports on Saturday as a global IT failure upended the travel plans of tens of thousands of people on a busy U.K. holiday weekend. Source
  • Broker, agent who worked with subsidiary of Home Capital disciplined

    Economic CBC News
    An Ontario regulator says it has imposed disciplinary actions against a mortgage broker and agent who worked with Home Trust Co., a subsidiary of Home Capital Group, over their handling of mortgages. The Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) says it conducted a review of 45 mortgage brokers and agents that Home Capital cut ties with after they were accused of falsifying income information several years ago. Source
  • Calgary man on lam in Mexico sentenced to 3 years in $27M mortgage fraud

    Economic CTV News
    CALGARY -- A Calgary man who was arrested after being on the lam for two years in Mexico for his part in a $27 million mortgage fraud has been sentenced to three years in prison. Source