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

  • Flying high: 100,000 pot plants flown from Ontario to B.C.

    Economic CTV News
    Under tight security, 100,000 marijuana plants arrived at Vancouver International Airport Saturday to be cultivated in a network of greenhouses in Langley, B.C. that’s being touted as the largest licensed cannabis production facility in the world. Source
  • Are female-led companies the answer to sexual misconduct?

    Economic CTV News
    NEW YORK -- The Weinstein Co. thought it had found a path to survival. A group of investors led by a respected businesswoman offered to acquire the company, rebrand it and install a female-led board of directors. Source
  • B.C. to appeal NEB ruling on Trans Mountain bylaw

    Economic CTV News
    VICTORIA -- British Columbia's government is appealing a decision that allows Kinder Morgan Canada to bypass local regulations in constructing its Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. The National Energy Board ruled in December that the company is not required to comply with two sections of the City of Burnaby's bylaws, which Kinder Morgan had said were hindering its ability to go ahead with the federally approved project. Source
  • PepsiCo shuts down Alberta Spitz sunflower seed factory

    Economic CBC News
    Thirty years after Spitz sunflower seeds first sprouted in Alberta, the last factory in the province is set to shut down. PepsiCo is closing the Bow Island processing plant in July, and laying off 53 workers from the small community of just 2,000 residents in the process. Source
  • Burnaby seeks appeal over tree cutting permits involving Trans Mountain pipeline

    Economic CTV News
    BURNABY, B.C. -- The City of Burnaby wants to appeal a National Energy Board decision that exempts Kinder Morgan from local land and tree clearance bylaws in the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline. A decision by the board last December overruled two sections of the bylaw, which would have required Trans Mountain to have preliminary plans and clearing permits. Source
  • TransCanada's Keystone Pipeline spill cleanup on schedule

    Economic CTV News
    AMHERST, S.D. -- TransCanada Corp. says cleanup of a massive on-shore oil spill from Keystone Pipeline in South Dakota is halfway finished. Last November, the pipeline leaked 210,000 gallons of crude oil onto agricultural land in Marshall County, one of the largest on-shore oil spills in the U.S. Source
  • Canada won't be 'impulsive' responding to U.S. tax cuts, Morneau says

    Economic CBC News
    The Liberal government will not "act in an impulsive way" in response to U.S. corporate tax cuts that economists say pose a threat to Canada's competitiveness, the federal finance minister said after a pre-budget meeting Friday. Source
  • Liberals lay down new rules to end use of coal, natural-gas power plants

    Economic CTV News
    OTTAWA - The federal Liberal government says its new regulations to phase out power plants fired by coal and natural gas will cost more than $2.2 billion, but potentially save the country billions more in reduced health care costs. Source
  • Morneau talks tax cuts, small biz changes with private-sector economists

    Economic CTV News
    Federal finance minister Bill Morneau was tight-lipped Friday about the upcoming budget after meeting with private sector economists, but says among the issues top of mind are the recent U.S. corporate tax cuts. He would not comment on whether tax cuts are in the cards for Canadian corporations to re-establish the country's competitiveness for attracting business. Source
  • Canada won't act in 'impulsive way' in response to U.S. tax cuts: Morneau

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- The Liberal government will not "act in an impulsive way" in response to U.S. corporate tax cuts that economists say pose a threat to Canada's competitiveness, the federal finance minister said after a pre-budget meeting Friday. Source