Mary’s Medicinals — an all-natural producer of medical cannabis products based out of Colorado — is the latest victim in a string of medical marijuana businesses whose pages have been shut down by Facebook. But only some pages have been targeted for what Facebook claims are violations of their Community Standards.
Before the shutdown, the Mary’s Medicinals page had built a large, supportive community of medical cannabis patients, many of whom were parents of children who experience seizures and people with terminal diagnoses.
“We were building our community really quickly and able to get a great reach,” said Graham Sorkin, Director of Business Development at Mary’s Medicinals. “We had thousands of followers.”
This week, Mary’s Medicinals was inexplicably charged with violating Facebook’s guidelines, and Sorkin was told the page would be taken down.
According to the company’s new Facebook page, nearly 20,000 followers were lost.
“I got the notification just as I was getting on a plane to head to the X-Games,” Sorkin said. “We had one opportunity to appeal the decision by removing everything marijuana related. So we stripped everything out — years of posts — and appealed.
“But the page was deleted anyway and all of our followers were gone.”
The timing couldn’t have been worse. “Promoting our cause [at the X-Games] and getting people to our Facebook page was a great way to promote our business,” Sorkin said. “At an event where social media really matters, it was a real kick in the butt.”
But Mary’s Medicinals is one in a sea of marijuana-related pages on Facebook that have been recently shut down. A handful of medical cannabis dispensaries in New Jersey and other states were also singled out for deletion this week.
Sorkin proposed it may have something to do with the highly competitive nature of the booming cannabis industry. “There are thousands of other product manufacturers not being shut down. It just takes one competitor to report your page.”
With medical marijuana legal in 23 states, and recreational in 4 states, Sorkin thinks Facebook is missing out on huge revenue potential by alienating legal medical marijuana businesses like Mary’s. And he feels betrayed by Facebook after so many years investing in the platform and building their community base.
“[Facebook] took our money to advertise,” Sorkin said. “They did enter into a business agreement with us.” He looks at it as a missed opportunity on Facebook’s part.
“I would have loved to have a relationship with them.”
Sorkin also shared with Ganjapreneur his letter appealing Facebook to reverse their decision.
To Whomever Arbitrarily Decides What is Ethical On Facebook,
I recently had the displeasure of having your team delete a community that I spent thousands of hours over the course of two years building. When you accepted our money and entered a business relationship allowing us to advertise, you encouraged us to invest time and energy into our page, which we did. When you stopped our ads but allowed us to continue to operate our page, I assumed we’d at least be able to continue our organic efforts to share information with our very engaged community (which you did allow for a period of time).
It is unfortunate that you choose to align with decades of racist, regressive policies and ban (with HIGHLY selectively enforcement) any information about ‘marijuana.’ However, I urge you to reconsider what is harmful to the community.
Our page (targeted specifically at adults in states where voters have chosen to legalize cannabis) offered information on safe, legal medical cannabis options. We shared resources for people that otherwise would be risking their freedom by turning to the black market. We helped connect parents with organizations and therapies that stopped their children’s seizures for the first time in their painful lives. We shared petitions begging for Veterans to be granted access to one of the only medicines that is helping prevent 22+ Veteran suicides a day. We fostered a community that offered hope to patients facing terminal diagnoses.
You arbitrarily shut that all down. Is the world now a better place?
Since you seem to have had your heads buried in the sand these last few years, I wanted to make sure you were aware that cannabis is now a fully legal multi-billion dollar industry predicted to grow as quickly as the smartphone market. Cannabis in some form is now legal in more than half of the United States. Your own platform currently hosts thousands of pages for cannabis dispensaries, services, manufacturers and many illegal black market dealers.
For a company attempting to stay relevant with an aging user base, you’re pretty out of touch with your own community. Were you aware that 58% of American adults support federally legalizing cannabis? Here are a few facts to consider:
- The marijuana industry could be bigger than the NFL by 2020 (Washington Post)
- U.S. market for legal cannabis grew 74% in 2014 to $2.7b, up from $1.5b in 2013 (Arcview Group)
- Revenues could reach $35b by 2020 if federally legalized. (Greenwave Advisors)
If you would like to explore how you could start to correct some of these ridiculous grievances against our community, I’d be happy to engage with your team (once our page is restored, of course.) Otherwise, we’ll take our fans and advertising budgets elsewhere.