Why is Facebook Closing Down CBD and Hemp Pages?

Everyone thought that when the Farm Bill passed the federal legalisation of hemp would have a positive effect on the CBD business, in particular that Facebook would stop its persecution of CBD and hemp businesses for promoting and selling what it called ‘illegal drugs’.  The reality seems to be exactly the opposite.  Facebook seems to have stepped up its attack on businesses and the rate of closure of  CBD and hemp pages and groups has accelerated dramatically.

The justification provided has now changed and Facebook says it is closing these pages because they are promoting and selling prescription medicines.  So what is going on?

The Farm Bill, properly known as the Agricultural Improvement Bill 2018, does indeed remove hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, which means that it will no longer be an illegal substance under federal law.  The same also applies to derivatives of hemp.  However, if anything , the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) now has more control over cannabis derivatives, including CBD, than before.  Its role, just like the MHRA in the UK, is to  regulate products under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and the Public Health Service Act.  All this with the purpose of protecting public health.

So CBD and hemp products are no longer illegal drugs but the FDA is now concerned about the same issue that drove the MHRA to intervene in the CBD business in the UK in 2016.  It’s the proliferation of medical claims for the products.  Exactly the same as in the UK, it is unlawful to make claims of medicinal benefit for a product that doesn’t have the necessary licence, authorisation or statutory approval.

If anything the situation is even worse in the USA than in the UK with the most ridiculous, unjustifiable snake oil claims being made by irresponsible and dishonest businesses.  OK, some of them may not be malevolent but they have a delusional ‘belief’ in their products’ ability to heal which cannot by any reasonable standard be allowed in their marketing.  Whatever we know about the theoretical science of CBD and subjective, anecdotal reports of its benefits, no responsible society can allow such claims to be made without them being properly tested.

So the behaviour of US CBD/hemp businesses is now threatening the existence of the whole market, exactly as it did in the UK.  Previously, while they were illegal drugs, the FDA regarded everything about them as illegal.  Now what it is concerned about is ensuring their sale is properly regulated.

But there’s another factor of huge significance that doesn’t apply in the UK – at least, so far there doesn’t appear to be any intent to implement such a policy.  It’s this.  Because CBD is a compound which the FDA already regulates as a medicine (in the GW Pharma product Epidiolex), it’s illegal to introduce drug ingredients like these into the food supply, or to market them as food supplements. It’s as simple as that.  In the USA, CBD is no longer an illegal drug, it’s a prescription medicine.

So, from Facebook’s point of view the situation is now simpler and clearer and as it does not allow the promotion or sale of prescription drugs, CBD/hemp products are definitely banned.

See the full statement explaining this from the FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. here.

Read the full statement.  It explains that the FDA now regards hemp seeds, hempseed oil and hempseed protein as fully legal products which may be marketed as foods. It says it is exploring ‘pathways’ that may enable it to permit the sale of CBD as a food supplement.

So this is not good news. Watch this space for further information. It is clear that the FDA is under pressure to act on this quickly but for now Facebook is going to be even tougher for those in the CBD/hemp business than it was before.  Even though these products may legally be sold in the UK and most of Europe as food supplements, Facebook and all the social media companies have always taken the view that they are bound worldwide by federal law and they are correct.  There is is nothing we can do about it.  They cannot even make special arrangements for the UK or Europe because as we’ve seen, very clearly with matters of international crime and terrorism, the USA enforces its laws across the world, irrespective of jurisdiction.



37 thoughts on “Why is Facebook Closing Down CBD and Hemp Pages?

  1. […] via Why is Facebook Closing Down CBD and Hemp Pages? — Cannabis Professionals […]

    1. Harold perry

      Hemp is not a drug
      Stop the bs

      1. Peter Reynolds

        No hemp is not ‘a drug’, it’s many drugs in one. I’m afraid the ‘BS’ comes from all the hopeless hippies who endlessly repeat this inaccurate trope.

        Cannabis, for which hemp is merely a nickname, contains a number of psychoactive cannabinoids and terpenes, each one of which is properly termed a drug. Real hippies understand this scientific fact 😉

    2. Veronica

      Hemp in itself will crush many industries FDA being the biggest because nobody will want there drugs any longer.
      Housing industry…because Hemp grows faster than any tree can.
      Gasoline….yep makes that too!
      Feed for Cows, Pigs, Chickens!!
      Paper products
      FDA stands to loose the most!!?

  2. Do you think YouTube will follow next?

    1. Peter Reynolds

      Probably but who knows? Historically, YouTube and Google have been a little braver than Facebook

      1. If you are claiming to be an expert you would know that there is only one psychoactive compound in cannabis: THC and the terpenes are considered GRAS by the US FDA
        Much of what you write is true but you have neglected to understand the details. Know your subject before you attempt to be an “expert”.

      2. Peter Reynolds

        Robert, forgive me but I must correct you. My expert advice is below.

        CBN and THCv are psychoactive. Many people consider the popular idea that CBD is non-psychoactive is incorrect and I agree. Try dabbing a CBD concentrate and tell me it’s non-psychoactive! And whether the FDA stipulates terpenes as GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe) doesn’t change the fact that some if not all of them are psychoactive.

        There are also other phytocannabinoids concerning which the jury is definitely still out on whether or not they are psychoactive.

    2. Youtube is already shutting down CBD accounts. Mine was shut down several months ago.

    3. Youtube has been closing down CBD accounts already. Mine was closed down several months ago.

    4. Youtube probably not- but http://www.growreel.com does! It was actually built and designed by cannabis growers and openly allows people to upload videos for free, just like Youtube, but without the fear of them being deleted!

      Maybe someone also needs to make an alternative Facebook?

  3. On this subject, I’m a lawyer in Louisville, KY. Kentucky has a pilot program that permits the growing and processing of hemp. My office recently began assisting growers and processors with hemp license applications. I “boosted” a post about these services.

    Facebook rejected the ad and I challenged: Industrial hemp is a legal crop under US and Kentucky law. Helping farmers obtain a growers license is a legitimate and needed service provided by an attorney such as myself. There is no valid reason to prohibit this boost.

    Facebook responded: We don’t allow ads that promote illegal, prescription, or recreational drugs. The reason behind our policies: We don’t allow the promotion of such products because they’re illegal in many parts of the world. I suggest you have a look at our Advertising Policies for more details.

    I replied: My post has nothing to do with drugs if any kind, legal or other wise. Industrial hemp has no THC which is the active ingredient in marijuana. Industrial hemp is an industrial resource used to make textiles and other products, not ingestable drugs. The state does rigorous testing to ensure the plants have no THC. Facebook needs to do its homework on hemp and change this policy. Two other points, when purchasing the boost under the geographic limitation option, the state of Kentucky was chosen, not any other state or country. Industrial hemp is legal in Kentucky under state and federal law. And, this newer cash crop is important to smaller farmers in the wake of tobacco decline. This Facebook hemp policy is hurting the small farmers who are struggling financially.

    Facebook then reconsidered and approved the ad.

    1. Peter Reynolds

      You were quite correct. Facebook has no business interfering with the cultivation of a legal crop. CBD is a different matter though.

    2. Patrick W O'Brien

      Industrial hemp does in fact contain contain about 0.3% – 1.5% THC .It isn’t much bit it still has a THC content

      1. Peter Reynolds

        In the EU the THC limit for industrial hemp is 0.2% THC

  4. ygo2work

    I wish I had understood Facebook’s policy a little better before I ran an ad for CBD for Pets on one of my business pages. Without any warning or contact they canceled not only my personal account and the page where the ad was posted, but in so doing denied my access to ten other business pages and all my ad accounts. My biggest page, with over 87,000 followers has had all my posts removed and then turned into a “Community Page”. Got to love FB.

    1. Peter Reynolds

      In the UK, selling CBD for pets is a criminal offence. In fact, even giving CBD to your pet without it having been prescribed by a vet is a criminal offence. See https://www.gov.uk/government/news/vmd-statement-on-veterinary-medicinal-products-containing-cannabidiol

      1. I

        The ads don’t run in the UK. You set up regions when you buy the ad. Why would anyone pay to advertise a legal product to people who couldn’t buy it?

      2. Peter Reynolds

        It’s not just about ads though, is it? The pages that are being closed down are CBD/hemp suppliers. I suppose Facebook could only permit access to some pages in some jurisdictions but I can easily see why it wouldn’t want to go down that path.

  5. Carol

    They need to be introduced to Sanjay Gupta and the reduction/control of little Charlotte with her many daily seizures!! Charlottes Web was my first experience with CBD. It does Not make you “high”…definitely controls My anxiety, as well as pain from osteoporosis. My body…My choice…My healing & relief from pain…Please!
    It appears to be regulations wanted by pharmaceutical manufacturers….it is criminal to disallow our ability to chose to partake of a plant that helps and/or heals us!

  6. Blake W

    Hey Peter Reynolds, have you ever considered thinking for yourself? You sound like a coward politician that believes adults can’t be allowed to make decisions without government intervention. My mother has suffered from Rheumatoid Arthritis for over 40 years and CBD Oil is one of the few natural substances that gives real relief from pain and inflammation. Do you have any idea what the side effects are from “licensed” pharma medications like prednisone are? This whipped conversation is a complete joke. The foods we eat heal or harm the body based on the quality and their properties. This is no different and the fact that our society has been conditioned to only value what greedy pharmaceutical companies and ignorant politicians authorize is pathetic. Cannabis – hemp and marijuana should be fully legal for consenting adults.

    1. Peter Reynolds

      You blithering idiot. Perhaps if you knew who you were talking to, you’d realise what a prat of yourself you’ve made with that comment.

      Of course cannabis should be legal for all adults. For at least the past the past 37 years I have been at the forefront of the cannabis law reform campaign in the UK.

      There’s a difference between campaigning for a change in the law and helping legitimate businesses remain compliant with the existing law. Perhaps you can’t see that?

      1. Blake W

        Should I be impressed now? That only makes your line of commenting even more puzzling. What exactly does that have to do with private Facebook groups where consumers chat with each other about it? Facebook is responsible for making companies compliant with contrived gray areas of the law now?

      2. Peter Reynolds

        I suggest you read my article again. You clearly haven’t understood the legal implications. I despise Facebook, it’s an out-of-control but virtually essential communications tool for modern business. It needs some serious regulation applied and/or support for alternative social networks but it does face legal challenges around cannabis.

        It’s perfectly possible to be an advocate for reform and participate in legitimate business. It’s what I do. The success of legal cannabis markets is now one of the most powerful drivers of reform.

      3. Blake W

        Here is the thing – companies cannot make drug claims without it being approved by the FDA – but that does not apply to consumers discussing these things among themselves and that also does not mean a social media network should be obligated to police on behalf of the FDA. Businesses are responsible for following FDA guidelines and the FDA has a duty to pursue those that do not conform. I do not see how it is anyone else’s obligation to. If facebook wants to penalize companies for doing this on facebook I get that, but why shut down an entire group because of some violators? It’s lazy. We DO NOT need to encourage more censorship – it may be preferred in the UK but us crazy Americans do not appreciate it. I am all for operating businesses legally and pushing for change the proper way – that isn’t really what this is about.

      4. Peter Reynolds

        I agree with you completely but their perspective is that the pages are promoting the use of what is now, in the US, a prescription medicine and unlawful to sell as a food supplement. Despite the fact this is not unlawful in the UK, FB applies this worldwide.

      5. Blake W

        Peter – but it is not unlawful to sell as a supplement! It is legal in every state in the US . My wife just bought me some for Christmas (and I witnessed it help my mother who has arthritis as a side note). It is only unlawful to make drug claims about it. Is that about to change in 2019 because of the Farm Bill or something? How is it that Marijuana, which is prescribed medicinally in states where it is allowed can also be sold recreationally? This CBD discussion is the exact same thing… It is prescribed in one form but legally sold otherwise. Why would CBD become illegal to sell?

      6. Peter Reynolds

        Blake, you clearly haven’t read the article as it addresses precisely this point.

        You are completely incorrect. Because CBD is an active ingredient in an FDA approved medicine it is unlawful to sell it as a supplement. This is US law. Thankfully it is not a law that applies in the UK but Facebook abides by US law worldwide.

        Please don’t waste any more of my time until you have informed yourself properly and READ THE ARTICLE which you are purporting to comment on!

      7. Blake W

        I’ve read your damn article Peter… get over yourself. All done here.

  7. Tony T ;)

    Are you serious??? It’s whats going to save this country but you “politicans” know it all so let’s just keep drunks drinking and junkies keep shooting up. Let big pharmaceutical companies run your so called “laws”. Marijuana alone can and WILL blow big pharma tobacco and alcohol companies out of the waters and put money in everyone’s pocket. I’m middle class so I don’t get your privileges. You taking information about marijuana off of Facebook is plain ignorant. How is it offensive? Who and how are they offended? It’s simply information on MEDICAL MARIJUANA. ?

  8. maybe I should sign FaceBook as and associate ,

  9. Debra

    So what do we do Peter? It seems that we the people are loosing this plant…. And quickly. Are we heading for it willing to fight for it with civil disobedience? It it time? If we do not do something quickly, we will loose this plant to corporations.

  10. elevatehempco

    People like you are parasites among the rest of us. CBD is as natural to us as vitamin D and melatonin. There are medical benefits to it but only because it is absolutely essential to our health. We wouldn’t have an endocannabinoid system if it wasn’t. The reason for most ailments is inflammation. By interacting with CB1 and CB2 receptors, CBD and most other cannabinoids, reduce inflammation. It is not medical ingredient to be compromised in integrity by the FDA, whose major focus is revenue. Which is proven through the history of approving deadly man made drugs in return for money. To suggest it is best for hemp under .3% THC or any of it’s components to be regulated by such a derelict group is asinine. It is people like you who would suggest your support for hemp and than drive the capital produced from it to the government and it’s constituents. We will fight every day to have CBD descueduled completely and it will only take education…being that most people are completely ignorant to what CBD actually is. We the People will regulate hemp, CBD and all other cannabinoids, phytocannabinoids and any other substance in hemp or we will bankrupt the FDA. That I can assure you.

  11. Veronica

    CBD is written in the FARM BILL as part of HEMP!
    Did someone forget to tell someone?

  12. Definitely hasn’t been in the news very much. Forbes just released an article yesterday that’s pretty good regarding the future of hemp and cbd.

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