Facebook shuts down marijuana retailers’ pages in Alaska

Facebook has deleted or taken down several pages belonging to Alaska marijuana retailers, making cannabis businesses in the state the latest to be hit by the tech giant’s occasional displays of cannaphobia.

Marijuana businesses in Alaska and other states already face severe advertising restrictions, and Facebook’s moves will only make it more difficult for cannabis companies to reach their clientele.

Owners and employees of at least six Alaskan cannabis retailers say Facebook shut down their stores’ pages in the past week, according to Alaska Dispatch News.

Facebook took down the pages about the same time that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was visiting the state over the Fourth of July holiday, the news service reported.

Early last year, Facebook and Instagram – which is owned by Facebook – shut down roughly 100 pages belonging to marijuana businesses. A Facebook spokeswoman said at the time the company doesn’t allow content that “promotes” marijuana sales but does permit non-promotional cannabis-related content.

But many marijuana retail pages were left alone during the 2016 purge, leaving some in the cannabis industry confused about the criteria Facebook uses when deciding whether to shutter or ignore marijuana retailers.

That appears to be the situation in Alaska, where some cannabis retailers’ Facebook pages were left alone. For example, AK Fuzzy Budz’ Facebook page was shut down four times but was allowed to stay live over the July Fourth weekend when the store was closed, Alaska Dispatch News reported.