Phoenix, AZ–Hemp Industries Association (HIA) has a message for Facebook: Hemp is legal and shouldn’t be censored. HIA announced in a press release that, in association with Hoban Law Group, Bluebird Botanicals, and Bish Enterprises, it is launching a campaign aimed at addressing Facebook’s current advertising policy of prohibiting the marketing and promotion of industrial hemp via Facebook and Instagram.
The campaign will feature a digital advertisement, which reads “Facebook: Stop Censoring Hemp,” that will run daily in Times Square until August 24, 2019. HIA also is coordinating a grassroots campaign among its more than 1,500 members in support of the policy change.
As HIA explained in the release, with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp was redefined as an agricultural commodity, removing it from the purview of the Controlled Substances Act and the jurisdiction of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Yet, HIA noted, the current Facebook policy classifies hemp as an illegal, prescription or recreational drug. HIA added that marketing limitations posed by Facebook exceed what is required by law.
“With the passage of the farm bill, it seemed there would be a new dawn for stakeholders of the hemp industries absolving them from confusion over whether hemp was indeed a controlled substance–it’s not,” said Colleen Keahey Lanier, Executive Director of the HIA, in the release. “But hemp entrepreneurs nationwide are currently being denied access to one of the most powerful marketing platforms in the world for small businesses restricted to outdated policies that continue to conflate hemp with marijuana. Not all of Cannabis is considered a drug, and Facebook’s new AI technology is already obsolete if it continues to recognize images of Cannabis as a controlled substance generally.”
With its 2.38 billion monthly users, HIA pointed out that Facebook represents “a massive market for small businesses.” Lainer added that the goal of the campaign is to change Facebook’s current policy by “applying pressure in the most public way possible.” “They use a wide-reaching platform to communicate,” she explained of the Times Square placement, “and so are we.”