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

  • The best and worst ways to budget for the holidays

    Economic CBC News
    Presents. Parties. Travel. The holidays can drain our energy, and our bank accounts — even if we try our best to prevent it. We checked in with some of Canada's top personal finance experts for their best budget tips, but also their biggest blunders, because even the smartest money-handlers know holiday pressure can lead to poor decisions. Source
  • Angry Air Miles collectors demand back points they rushed to use on 'junk'

    Economic CBC News
    On Thursday, Air Miles cancelled its controversial expiry policy. But the move is only fuelling the fury for many collectors who used their points on stuff they didn't really want to beat the clock. Source
  • Death threats and abuse for woman leading Brexit court fight

    Economic CTV News
    LONDON -- Gina Miller is paying the price for going to court. The financial entrepreneur says she has received death threats and racial and sexual abuse since she won a High Court ruling forcing the British government to seek Parliamentary approval before leaving the European Union. Source
  • Air Miles rep: 'Options' may exist for panic redeemers

    Economic CTV News
    Air Miles Canada may have thought abandoning its unpopular expiration policy would calm the cardholder backlash from those who rushed to spend miles, but were frustrated by full flights, sold out merchandise, and long customer service delays. Source
  • Irving mill faces steep fines after being charged with polluting St. John River

    Economic CTV News
    SAINT JOHN, N.B. -- Irving Pulp and Paper is facing 15 counts of polluting the St. John River at its mill near the Reversing Falls tourist attraction. An Environment Canada spokesman says Irving has been charged under federal Fisheries Act provisions on the deposit of harmful substances into fish-bearing water. Source
  • Costco investigated over allegations pharmacy directors accepted kickbacks for certain brands

    Economic CBC News
    Costco is being investigated by Ontario's Ministry of Health for its compliance with the province's legislation on selling pharmaceutical and over-the-counter drugs. The health ministry investigation comes after the Ontario College of Pharmacists (OCP) announced it would hold disciplinary hearings for two Costco pharmacy directors because of allegations that they accepted Source
  • Costco to be investigated by government over compliance with drug-selling rules

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- Costco is being investigated by Ontario's Ministry of Health for its compliance with the province's legislation on selling pharmaceutical and over-the-counter drugs. The health ministry investigation comes after the Ontario College of Pharmacists announced it would hold disciplinary hearings for two Costco pharmacy directors because of allegations that they accepted kickbacks for stocking certain brands. Source
  • United Airlines will pay US$2.4 million to settle with SEC

    Economic CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- The parent company of United Airlines will pay US$2.4 million to settle civil charges by securities regulators over flights that were started to help an official who oversaw one of the airline's hub airports. Source
  • 4 of world's biggest cities have plans to get diesel off their streets

    Economic CBC News
    Four of the world's largest and most polluted cities have decided to ban diesel cars and trucks from their streets by 2025. The mayors of Paris, Mexico City, Madrid and Athens announced the commitment in Mexico City on Friday at the C40 Mayors' Summit, a meeting of city leaders. Source
  • U.S. health care tab hits $3.2T; fastest growth in 8 years

    Economic CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- The nation's health care tab grew at the fastest rate in eight years in 2015, driven by the coverage expansion in President Barack Obama's law and by costly prescription drugs, the government said Friday. Source