PHOENIX, Ariz. – Nonprofit trade group Hemp Industries Association, has partnered with cannabis industry stakeholders Hoban Law Group, CBD product company Bluebird Botanicals, and farm supplier Bish Enterprises to launch “Hemp is Legal” campaign addressing social media platform Facebook’s current policy of prohibiting hemp promotion and advertising on both Facebook and Instagram.
“With the passage of the Farm Bill, it seemed there would be a new dawn for stakeholders of the hemp industries absolving them from confusion over whether hemp is a federally controlled substance–it’s not,” HIA Executive Director Colleen Keahey Lanier said in a press release.
“But hemp entrepreneurs nationwide are currently being denied access to one of the most powerful marketing platforms in the world for small businesses restricted to outdated policies that continue to conflate hemp with marijuana. Not all of Cannabis is considered a drug, and Facebook’s new AI technology is already obsolete if it continues to recognize images of Cannabis as a controlled substance generally,” she added.
The campaign kicked off with a digital ad located in New York City’s Times Square, which reads, “Facebook: Stop Censoring Hemp.” It will be displayed until August 24. There also is a message for supporters to visit HempIsLegal.org for more information and to sign a petition that urges the end of prohibition on hemp promotions on Facebook and Instagram.
“We are asking all hemp supporters—advocates, farmers, processors, manufacturers, retailers, and consumers—to join the movement and help us turn Facebook green,” said Lanier. “Hemp advertisements are allowed in Times Square, so why not on Facebook? Hemp is completely legal under federal law.”
The 2018 Farm Bill, which was passed late last year, included legislation that descheduled hemp from the Drug Enforcement Administration’s list of controlled substances and allows cultivation of hemp under regulation of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“Our goal is to change Facebook’s current policy by applying pressure in the most public way possible,” said Lanier. “They use a wide-reaching platform to communicate and so are we.”
USDA regulations for hemp production were expected for late 2019, though other agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration, are in the process of developing new regulation for hemp-derived products—a game-changing development for the medical marijuana and CBD product industries.
In related news, the FDA is currently accepting public comment on CBD, aka hemp-derived cannabidiol, which already is a major global health and wellness trend. The comments, which will be accepted until July 2, will help officials develop new regulations for CBD products and their production.