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Lawsuit, media campaign hit Facebook over CBD, hemp ads

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A U.S. company has filed suit in federal courts against Facebook for rejecting its advertising. Cannaramic Media, Inc. and its founder Felicia Palmer are taking on Facebook over the social media giant’s having refused to run advertising promoting an online cannabis conference.

Palmer, who also is founder of the hip-hop news website SOHH.com, said she paid Facebook to promote posts about CBD and the online cannabis event but that Facebook blocked the promotion, stating it “doesn’t allow ads that promote illegal, prescription, or recreational drugs.”

Policies are frustrating

That is about as clear as Facebook has been regarding hemp and CBD advertising on its platform, frustrating legitimate players who want to promote their products. The company has generally not provided users clear rules or any rationale for its decisions. The media giant simply shuts down advertising or deletes accounts and pages it decides are in violation of its advertising rules.

The lawsuit cites a “pattern of censorship and suppression of information and content pertaining to legal uses of cannabis across Facebook’s platform as well as that of the popular social media app, Instagram, also owned by Facebook.”

Lawyer David C. Holland, Executive Director at the New York chapter of NORML, the cannabis advocacy organization, is representing Palmer and Cannaramic in the lawsuit.

HIA in national campaign

Meanwhile the U.S. Hemp Industries Association and a group of American firms are in the midst of a campaign aimed at effecting changes to Facebook policies toward hemp products that includes a digital ad in New York City’s Times Square urging “Facebook: Stop Censoring Hemp.” HIA is bolstering the campaign, which is to run daily through August 24, via a grassroots effort among its more than 1,500 members, the Association said in a release. A petition backing HIA’s campaign is hosted at HempIsLegal.org.

“With the passage of the farm bill, it seemed there would be a new dawn for stakeholders of the hemp industries absolving them from confusion over whether hemp is a federally controlled substance – it’s not,” said Colleen Keahey Lanier, HIA’s Executive Director. “But hemp entrepreneurs nationwide are currently being denied access to one of the most powerful marketing platforms in the world for small businesses restricted to outdated policies that continue to conflate hemp with marijuana.

“Facebook’s new AI technology is already obsolete if it continues to recognize images of cannabis as a controlled substance generally,” Keahey Lanier added.

The problems with Facebook don’t end at the U.S. border; advertising shutdowns that hit companies in Poland and Finland are only two recent examples of the downside of the company’s policies internationally.


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