Local hemp and CBD retailers are seeing their Facebook pages restored after several were unpublished for allegedly violating the company’s policy. Shortly after the Agricultural Improvement Act, also known as the 2018 Farm Bill, was signed by President Trump, stores found their pages taken down. Owners have fought back, including the Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture, and it seems to have worked. A Facebook spokesperson has said the pages were mistakenly unpublished.
Facebook Restoring Pages of CBD and Hemp Retailers
Facebook has begun to republish the pages of local hemp and cannabidiol (CBD) retailers after unpublishing them for breaking policy.
According to Vox, a spokesperson for Facebook said the platform had “mistakenly” removed pages related to CBD and hemp, and they were working to restore them.
The social media platform had claimed these pages were “promoting the sale of prescription pharmaceuticals.”
The FDA considers CBD a drug because it is an active ingredient in an FDA-approved drug. Additionally, companies selling CBD products often market the compound like a drug by making disease claims.
Thus, CBD is treated as a pharmaceutical drug by the FDA.
Stores in these states appealed the takedown of their page but were all met by a generic response saying, “Thanks for contacting us. We’ve reviewed your Page and confirmed that it still violates the Facebook Page Policies. As a result, your Page remains unpublished.”
These events caught the attention of Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles who sent a letter urging Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to “put an immediate stop to Facebook’s recent practice of limiting its users’ ability to advertise and communicate about hemp-based products and businesses.”
“America’s hemp farmers and businesses should be celebrated and supported.” Just confirmed @KYAgCommish sent this letter to @facebook, urging them to reconsider the practice of limiting hemp companies’ access on social media. https://t.co/s3CL5HRc6Y pic.twitter.com/L08y1pquge
— Garrett Wymer (@GarrettWKYT) January 4, 2019
Hemp and CBD are important industries in Kentucky, which has historically been the nation’s top hemp producer when the plant is legal.
Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell was also the one who led the movement in Congress to legalize hemp.
The timing of the Farm Bill’s passage and Facebook’s subsequent closure of CBD and hemp pages was especially harmful to those selling products.
“It was a huge bummer Facebook killed our page right before the holidays,” said Hannah Smith in an interview with Vox. Smith works with a Colorado-based CBD company called Joy Organics.
While Facebook is currently restoring pages, this event indicates confusion still exists over CBD and how it should be treated despite the passing of the Farm Bill.
The FDA seems to acknowledge the confusion and is currently working on creating an “efficient” regulatory framework that lays out how companies can lawfully market CBD products.
Hopefully, the FDA’s regulations are clear—along with their stance on the substance—and will prevent similar occurrences in the future.