Facebook to run cannabis legalization adverts

Eric W. Dolan |

Facebook has agreed to run marijuana legalization ads after being confronted by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the ACLU of Northern California.

The social networking giant had refused to run the ads of multiple organizations because they showed marijuana leaves.

“Platforms like Facebook that are designed to facilitate communication should not get into the business of censorship, which is the opposite of innovating, connecting, and sharing,” Linda Lye of the ACLU said on Monday. “The good news is that once alerted to the problem by the ACLU and EFF, Facebook immediately did the right thing.”

The publisher of “Marijuana is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink?” hoped to use a Facebook ad to promote a special price being offered to celebrate the book’s success, but their proposed ad was denied last year. In a message sent to the publisher, Facebook said that the “content advertised by this ad is prohibited” because the popular website does “not allow ads for marijuana and any products related to it.”

Facebook also refused to run ads for the marijuana law reform group Just Say Now and the Libertarian Party in 2010 because the ads contained marijuana leaves.

“The image of a marijuana leaf is classified with all smoking products and therefore is not acceptable under our policies,” a spokesman for Facebook explained.

Just Say Now had tried to run marijuana legalization ads again in 2012, only to be denied, which prompted the ACLU and EFF to speak with Facebook on their behalf. The ads urged voters to make marijuana legalization a campaign issue.