Facebook Shuts Down Arizona Dispensary Pages
Arizona residents who have relied on Facebook, to keep up to date on their favorite dispensary sales and current events may have a hard time doing so now that the social media site began deactivating medical marijuana pages. Earlier this month, this was becoming an issue with dispensaries in New Jersey but now, the deleting sprees have spread to the Copper state.
While voters approved the medical marijuana legislation in 2010 and since then, there have been 87,000 MMJ patients registered with in the state, Facebook still attacks dispensary pages despite the legalities. Facebook’s terms of service states ads must not promote the sale or use of “illegal, prescription or recreational drugs.” Many business owners find that advertising through social media is a great way to connect with the community, while others feel it should be more regulated.
Paul Morris, regional manager of Giving Tree Wellness Center in Mesa claims the deletion of his company Facebook was without warning or reason. “It was really a tool – a unique tool, I think – to be able to share the message that we’re trying to share with our community," he said. Morris' views, however, contradicted the thoughts of Jessica Smith, a volunteer for Keep AZ Drug Free, who agrees with Facebook's decision. “I don’t see the upside of advertising on Facebook or any social networking for that matter,” she said. "Why is it not a closed audience? Why are they not regulating, in fact, who can see it?”
A spokeswoman with the Arizona Department of Health Services confirmed that the department does not regulate advertising for dispensaries however, it does prohibit dispensaries from wrapping their vehicles with any MMJ advertising.
Similarly to the senseless deleting sprees on Instagram, dispensaries will continue to operate with or without social media. "Any dispensary is going to go on if we don’t have a Facebook account,” Morris said. “It’s not going to impact our sales, necessarily. The focus of those kinds of things is for the benefit of the patients.”