Legal weed sales numbers keep getting higher and higher. According to market research group ArcView's recent reports sales increased to $5.4 billion for 2015 compared to 2014’s $4.6 billion. ArcView's reports also say U.S. adult-use legal sales grew to $998 million from $351 million in sales in 2014. ArcView projects legal weed sales to top over $20 billion by 2020, which may find the U.S. with Kanye for president. (Everyone already knows how he feels about rolling one up.) Late last month Facebook banned gun sales on its site and on Instagram. It's now going after marijuana dispensaries Facebook pages.
NBC News reports "at least a dozen" marijuana dispensaries in states where marijuana has been legalized (Colorado, Washington, Oregon) or where its legal medicinally (New Jersey) have had their Facebook pages pulled.
Peter Rosenfeld a registered patient in New Jersey's medicinal marijuana program and a board member of the Coalition of Medical Marijuana of New Jersey (which aids the state in creating medical marijuana laws) said this about the marijuana dispensary pages being shut down: "Facebook pages are an important link to let patients know which strains of cannabis or marijuana they have available, the best strains for which medical conditions, and to allow the patients to interact with the ATCs (Alternative Treatment Centers."
One of the affected dispensaries was Mary's Medicinals of Denver reports NBC News. Mary's Medicinals Facebook page had 20,000 followers when Facebook shut it down late January. When NBC News contacted Facebook about the shutdowns a spokesperson replied in an email: "These pages have been removed for violating our Community Standards, which outline what is and is not allowed on Facebook."
The spokesperson then went into specifics writing that the standards, "prohibits any attempts by unauthorized dealers to purchase, sell, or trade prescription drugs, marijuana or firearms." This partially addresses the concerns of dispensary owners who didn't know why their pages had been taken down as NBC News writes.
But Mary's Medicinals director of business development Graham Sorkin is still questioning Facebook's explanation: "We are not unauthorized dealers—we are licensed by the state of Colorado and follow more regulations than just about any industry in the United States." He also said Mary's page wasn't selling anything despite showcasing its products. It was used as an informational tool according to Sorkin.
Shedding more light on this issue is attorney Kaiser Wahab, who NBC News reports has represented people taking on Facebook. He said, "If it's something that could be illegal on a federal level, then you have to look at your operation as it exists on Facebook in a continuum. And one end of the continuum is hey, we're just discussing the industry."