At least six of Alaska’s recreational marijuana dispensaries have had their Facebook pages shut down in the past month, and the Last Frontier’s cannabis providers are pissed.
According to the Alaska Dispatch News, the Facebook pages of Arctic Herbery, Enlighten Alaska, Frozen Buds, Pakalolo Supply Co., Dankorage and Alaska Fireweed were all either deleted or unpublished within the past week, wreaking havoc on the companies’ advertising plans for the Fourth of July weekend and beyond.
“(Facebook) has been huge for us. That’s where almost all our advertising comes from,” Arctic Herbery owner Bryant Thorp told the Dispatch.
Facebook does have a set of confusing rules that could be used to justify shutting down dispensary pages, including a ‘regulated goods’ subsection that bans "any attempts by private individuals to purchase, sell, or trade prescription drugs, marijuana, firearms or ammunition." But none of the dispensaries made direct sales through Facebook, and the timing of the multiple page shutdowns at once has dispensary owners upset.
“I would assume that if anybody is complaining, it’d be the same people who start petitions up, try to get us prohibited in communities,” Cary Carrigan, executive director of the Alaska Marijuana Industry Association, said. “I think there’s a real desire to try and stymie us by whatever means possible.”
This isn’t the first time Zuckerberg and his squad have taken down dispensary pages off the world’s most popular social network, a fact reiterated by Alaska-based cannabis attorney Jana Weltzin.
“This is not a new thing,” Weltzin said. “If you’re doing something that’s illegal and Facebook knows that, they try to not promote that. It’s still illegal under federal law.”
To make matters worse though, the social media blackout coincidentally coincided with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s trip to Alaska last week, the latest stop in what has been a year of strangely political tours and adventures around the country.
"That's what kills me," Carrigan said. "Zuckerberg shows up and Facebook pages are down."
Carrigan wasn’t the only industry insider thinking conspiracy when they heard the news of Zuckerberg’s latest jetsetting.
"It's a weird coincidence, that's for sure," said Rich Beezley, chief operating officer at AK Fuzzy Budz.
When reached for comment about the dispensaries’ social media shutdown, Facebook representative Ruchika Budhraja gave the Dispatch News a classic non-answer about specific reasons for the shutdown.
“Anyone can report content to us if they think it violates standards,” Budhraja said. “Our team reviews reports to determine whether there was a violation.”
When asked about a possible connection between Zuckerberg’s visit to Alaska and the dispensary pages going down, Budhraja added that she "wouldn't think the two are tied” but failed to expand further.
Whatever the reason, Alaska’s dispensary owners are worried that the Facebook shutdowns are just one more roadblock making it difficult for them to run traditional businesses.
“We face challenges every day running a legal cannabis business, but this is a disappointing one,” Pakalolo Supply Co. co-owner Keenan Hollister said. “It feels like an attack on commerce in our state.”
Post your cannabis friendly images and/or video on MERRY JANE's SESH without fear of your account being taken down. And, whether traveling through Alaska or other legalized state, find a local dispensary or delivery service through the MERRY JANE Dispensary Locator.