Pressure mounts on Mark Zuckerberg to reinstate pages as Facebook deletes US & UK CBD pages despite legalisation of hemp across all 50 states.
The Farm Bill is now law in the US after many months of political wrangling. But recent actions by Facebook show that confusion around the sale and marketing of CBD products persists.
Within days of President Trump’s signature drying, and in the thick of a government shutdown, the newly legalised hemp industry was experiencing a shutdown of its own.
Facebook had removed the pages of CBD and hemp companies located in Colorado, Kansas, Maine and Kentucky, despite hemp being fully legal in all 50 US states since January 1.
At least one UK company was also targeted.
Kentucky commissioner of agriculture Ryan Quarles expressed his frustration in a letter to Mark Zuckerberg:
“Because hemp products are legal, it is baffling for me that Facebook would attempt to interfere with hemp business owners’ efforts to advertise and communicate with the public about their products.”
Wee Hemp Co’s Facebook page was removed without warning, for ‘promoting the sale of pharmaceuticals’ in violation of Facebook policy. Colorado-based Joy Organics received the same message. Both pages were reinstated shortly afterwards.
Commenting on the Joy Organics case, a Facebook spokesperson said:
“We mistakenly removed pages for hemp and CBD oil that do not violate our policies and we are currently working to restore these pages.”
However, some people in the industry believe that the pages were not deleted by accident.
Sunshine Bickett of Sunshine CBD Bake said:
“Personally, I think this is happening because they are correlating us with big pharma now that hemp is legal.
“Pharmaceutical companies pay big bucks to be on Facebook, and then there are little guys like us who have pages. Once the farm bill passed, maybe Facebook saw an opportunity to move things around.”
The FDA has been unequivocal in stating that CBD products marketed for therapeutic use require regulatory approval.
Up until now, many companies have simply avoided making therapeutic claims on their products and social media pages and leaving it to customers to do their research before purchasing.
But Facebook and Instagram will also have to move with the times if they hope to profit from the increasingly lucrative and evolving CBD industry.