Another Case of Cannaphobia? PR Website Blocks Marijuana-Related Business

marijuana ban

By Omar Sacirbey

The list of companies with cannaphobia appears to be getting longer.

A marijuana-related startup said its attempt to make an announcement via PR.com, a major distributor of press releases for businesses, was rejected because it focuses on “drug-related content.”

The startup, Healer.com, provides information about cannabis dosing but does not cultivate, sell or even touch the plant.

The decision stunned Healer.com strategist Pekka Paavonpera, who was looking to make a big splash by officially announcing the company’s launch.

“I was absolutely surprised,” said Paavonpera, who forwarded the rejection email it received from PR.com to Marijuana Business Daily. “There’s no reason for this to happen.”

The move comes at a time when other major media platforms have pulled the plug on or rejected content from cannabis-related companies.

Over the past year – and particularly in the past few months – social media giants Facebook and Instagram shut down the accounts of dozens of marijuana companies, although a few have been restored. Other companies have run into issues with Google and Apple.

In each of these cases, as well as with PR.com, some marijuana businesses have been able to use the services just fine, while others were booted or rejected seemingly without rhyme or reason.

Public relations professionals representing cannabis companies say that press release services are a popular and effective method for reaching target audiences, particularly with the problems the marijuana industry has faced with social media sites.

“They’re tremendously important,” said Ann Dickerson, an independent marketing consultant in Denver whose clients include OpenVape and the Colorado Harvest Company.

Dickerson said she’s never heard of a case where a press release distributor rejected a company because it’s in the marijuana industry.

“It’s good for the PR industry” to have cannabis clients, Dickerson said, adding that she uses a service called Market Wire.

There are only a handful of major press release distributors, so seeing even just one reject cannabis-related content could close an important door for marijuana businesses.

Healer.com’s Paavonpera said he tried to push out a press release announcing the Maine-based startup’s launch. The company offers content provided by Dr. Dustin Sulak, a licensed doctor of osteopathy who is also certified to recommend medical marijuana in Maine.

After Paavonpera tried to send the release, he received a notice saying that his attempt failed and that Healer.com’s account had been shut down.

Paavonpera emailed asking for an explanation.

He received this reply from PR.com: “Our editorial department was unable to approve your account because our guidelines generally do not enable them to approve certain drug-related content. So, unfortunately, they will not be able to approve the release … We’re sorry for any inconvenience.”

A person who answered the phone at PR.com’s headquarters in Melville, New York, declined to tell Marijuana Business Daily whether the company has a specific policy regarding marijuana businesses. The representative, who also declined to give his name or position, said the company assesses each press release individually.

“There are different reasons an account might not be accepted. Each account is different,” he said.

But a search on PR.com reveals that the company actually has featured several releases tied to marijuana-related businesses and events.

Spectrum King LED, a lighting company, had a March 3 release announcing its attendance at this month’s Spannabis conference in Spain, while a Jan. 4 press release from a company in Florida called Cannabliss, touting the efforts of one of its subsidiaries to raise $5 million.

PR Newswire, another major press release distributor, said it does accept content from marijuana companies.

“We accept releases from legally established companies who are in the legal production of marijuana or related industries. These releases tend to be about the business operations of the companies and not about the marketing or sale of their products, which are illegal in most states,” said Dave Haapaoja, senior vice president of global operations at PR Newswire.

Paavonpera didn’t let PR.com’s rejection derail his plans, and instead released the announcement through 24-7 Press Release Newswire.

“It’s a speed bump in the process,” said Paavonpera. He added that the rejection had a silver lining, in that it forced him to followup with personal emails or phone calls to people in his media database, thereby strengthening connections with them.

Omar Sacirbey can be reached at [email protected]

13 comments on “Another Case of Cannaphobia? PR Website Blocks Marijuana-Related Business
  1. Windy City on

    …I would assume that it is quite likely that Big Pharma is more or less instructing these sites to withhold anything that shows medical marijuana beneficial and even better than the chemicals that they are throwing t an unsuspecting public.

    This is no surprise, they are on the verge of losing serious profits with the advent of MMJ…

    Reply
  2. Harry Knight on

    Glad to see there are people out there that haven’t bought the lies. Marijuana is a drug. Its addictive. It destroys young brain functions. It is linked to higher future health costs/addiction treatment. It is also linked to higher crime rates, higher DUI/Impaired driving rates, higher injury and accidents (yes even unto death) among younger people. The myriad of lies being pitched to our kids about it is shameless. You people are nothing less than self serving hypocrites. I will be a voice against this and will bring others to arms with all of my power. You need to be highly regulated, highly taxed and continually monitored with extreme prejudice and crippling consequences.

    Reply
    • Eric on

      Wow big guy, I think the same about booze. I wish the best for you and the rest of the world. Maybe someday before you pass away you will see the light. We love our plants and the people that enjoy them with us. Don’t focus on us doing our jobs focus on doing your own job.

      Reply
    • gloria on

      Harry Harry, jeez, obviously you are very UNEDUCATED about MJ.. All your statements are absolutely WRONG! No need to repeat any of them, as your voice & statement is the only hypocritical uneducated lie.. That same lie that all the uneducated people has forced on you for way too many years. Sounds like you are the only one that needs monitoring, as your extreme prejudice against something you obviously know nothing about.

      Reply
    • Drink yourself to death on

      Yes, you’re talking about ALCOHOL not MJ. I’m only in my thirties and have seen many people destroyed and killed by liquor poison. Herb? Zero. Ask a police officer, any Police officer, they’ll tell you what is involved in 90%+ of all their calls…alcohol, NOT weed. The science and truth is coming out, the stigma/ignorance is dying and by the grace of God, this country will become a nation of stoners, no longer a nation full of the true prolific abusers in society: alcoholics.

      Reply
  3. Kathy Smith on

    PR must be reserved for the uneducated lower class and the uninformed. In the state of Colorado during the vote for cannabis legalization the counties with the wealthy and highly educated resident voters delivered the largest number and highest percentages of pro cannabis votes. The wealthy and highly educated U.S. Citizen Voters of Colorado led the way to cannabis legalization. 🙂

    Reply
    • Roger on

      Kathy, 25 years ago a house on main street Telluride could be had for under 30k. Today Telluride has been ruined by the wealthy. It used to be a great place to visit but not anymore.

      Reply
  4. Tracey Henry on

    I run a cannabis-based public relations firm, Type A Media. We build our own media lists that go directly to mainstream and cannabis/cannabis-friendly journalists – sidestepping a lot of this nonsense. We would be happy to speak with Healer.com!

    Reply
  5. Email Spike Cost on

    I’ve requested enterprise owners why, and often obtain the
    response thaqt they simply do not suppose iit will happen to them; they feel the percentages are in opposition to one of these main loss.

    Reply

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