Facebook shuts down Marijuana Business Pages in New Jersey

Posted by Sagar Satapathy on February 04, 2016.

Social networking site Facebook has shut down three of five business pages owned by New Jersey's medical marijuana dispensaries. The move is aimed at banning promotion of drugs, but advocates term it as an attempt to prevent the patients from getting accurate information and offers.

Three pages that were shut down by Facebook this week, are Compassionate Sciences in Bellmawr, Garden State in Woodbridge, and Breakwater Treatment and Wellness in Cranbury. It can be noted that Facebook's advertising policy bans promotion of selling drugs as well as tobacco and guns. Medical marijuana too comes under drugs category, as it's still banned under federal law.

Even though the dispensaries have been legally operating in New Jersey since 2011, Facebook does not acknowledge it. Even in 2015, Facebook had shut down the page for the Harborside Health Center, a dispensary in Oakland, California. But, later it was reinstated.

According to The Associated Press, Facebook spokeswoman Arielle Aryah confirmed in an email that the pages were removed for violating the Community Standards prescribed by Facebook. Over 5,500 patients have registered for medical marijuana in New Jersey with the participation of over 300 doctors in the program. Removal of these pages, could affect them to some extent, as it was always easier to retrieve information from a large online forum like Facebook.

Meanwhile, the medical dispensaries whose pages were removed from Facebook, sought to downplay the development, saying it was Facebook's prerogative to retain or remove the pages and that they were just doing their job. They believe that they would find other ways to serve the patients if Facebook continues with its policy and does not reinstate their pages.

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