Facebook is said to be deleting medical marijuana business pages on its social network, with three pages operated by dispensaries in New Jersey and a handful more across the United States removed.
The move by Facebook, which has drawn the anger of dispensary owners and patients of medical marijuana, was done as the social network claimed the pages violated the website's terms of service.
"We remove any promotion or encouragement of drug use. Your page is currently not visible on Facebook. It looks like content on your page does not follow the Facebook Community Terms and Standards," a note on the disabled pages said.
NJ.com reported the takedown of the medical marijuana pages, and when it approached the media relations office of Facebook, the social network declined to provide answers to the new website's questions.
Alex Zaleski, the founder of Breakwater Wellness and Treatment Center which was one of the businesses that had its page taken down, said that what Facebook did is a great disservice to the patients that rely on the pages for updates in the field.
The possession and the production of marijuana is a violation of federal law, but the Obama administration has said that it will not be devoting resources in law enforcement for the investigation of marijuana use that is permitted by state regulations.
While all five dispensaries in New Jersey have their own websites, their presence on Facebook is significant as state rules have prohibited advertising.
"It allows us to post strain names which allows people to do research. It allows the communication between the patients about what is working," said Michael Nelson, the general manager of Compassionate Sciences Alternative Treatment Center, which also had its Facebook page disabled.
The total number of medical marijuana business pages that have been disabled remains unclear. Over the last three months, dispensaries located in Washington and Maine have also reported having their Facebook pages taken down.
The legality of medical marijuana has remained a controversial topic in the United States. Last month, Republican lawmakers were reportedly looking to change the Medical Marijuana Act of Arizona, pushing for tougher measures to be put in place before patients are given access to supplies of medical marijuana.