March 6, 2019

Report: Facebook could loosen cannabis content restrictions

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

In a move that could ease the issues plaguing many Massachusetts cannabis businesses, Facebook could loosen restrictions on posts promoting marijuana sales.

The news was first reported by U.K.-based publication The Telegraph, which reported the company is having internal discussion about its policy on regulated goods, which currently forbids all content about buying and selling cannabis products.

Several Central Massachusetts cannabis companies hoping to tap into the lucrative market have been met with the social network's strict policies on the Internet, and many pages Facebook and Instagram -- the latter owned by the former social media giant -- have been deactivated.

Cultivate, the Leicester-based company making headlines when it became one of the first two stores to open for adult-use sales east of the Mississippi River in November, had its Instagram page deactivated just as the company was dealing with blowback from traffic issues with neighbors.

Due to Facebook's policies, the company hasn't posted on Facebook since October.

Other businesses with Instagram pages deactivated were Wakefield-based Curaleaf with a medical dispensary in Oxford, Milford-based Sira Naturals and Medway-based CommCan.

Facebook pages for Sira, Franklin-based New England Treatment Access and Curaleaf have been deactivated in the past.

Many of those companies have since started new social media accounts and have changed their practices to avoid being deactivated again.

Regardless of state, country and the current status of marijuana legalization in any territory, Facebook and Instagram do not allow content that promotes the sale of marijuana. Any dispensaries are prohibited from providing contact information like phone numbers or street addresses.

Advocacy and awareness content is allowed as long as it does not promote the sale of cannabis.

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