ALASKA POT SHOPS’ PAGES TAKEN DOWN
●●● JUNEAU, ALASKA» Facebook has shut down pages set up by several businesses licensed to legally sell marijuana in Alaska, severing what some shop owners consider a critical link to their customers.
The social media giant said its standards describe what users can post, and content promoting marijuana sales isn’t allowed. The issue has popped up over the last few years in states that have legalized recreational and medical pot, industry officials said.
Cary Carrigan, executive director of the Alaska Marijuana Industry Association, said the industry has been forced to fight the same battles repeatedly as marijuana gains broader acceptance nationally.
It wasn’t clear why the crackdown in Alaska happened within the past couple weeks or what specifically prompted it.
But it comes as social media sites grapple with setting boundaries for what users can post.
Jana Weltzin, an Anchoragebased attorney who works with the cannabis industry, said pulling Facebook pages of marijuana businesses “has an incredibly negative, chilling effect on the commercial speech of these companies.”
TV and radio stations often do not allow marijuana advertising, so social media is a way for businesses to communicate directly with their consumers, she said.