Facebook bans image in marijuana legalization advert

After serving up 38 million ads from a group supporting the legalization of marijuana since August 7, Facebook told the group on August 16 that it could no longer use a pot leaf in its ad, since it might promote smoking.

“The image in question was no longer acceptable for use in Facebook ads,” wrote Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes in an e-mail to Wired.com. “The image of a marijuana leaf is classified with all smoking products and therefore is not acceptable under our policies.”

But the Just Say Now campaign contests that Facebook isn’t harshing on their mellow — it’s censoring them, especially given that marijuana legalization is on the ballot in the upcoming election in California. And it’s calling on its supporters — some 6,000 fans on its Facebook page — to swap out their profile picture for an image of a pot leaf with a banned box over it:

The ads were entitled “End the war on marijuana” and called on users to sign a petition asking President Obama to support the right of states to legalize marijuana.

Facebook’s core audience supports drug legalization, according to polls, and a large number of young adults say they are more likely to vote if legalization is on the ballot, according to Jane Hamsher, the co-founder of the Firedoglake blog, whose helping run the campaign in concert with Students for a Sensible Drug Policy.

“We aren’t trying to sell people pot. This is a policy issue,” Hamsher told Wired.com, noting that more than 50 percent of inmates in the federal prison system were there on drug charges and that law-and-order types like former Reagan administration lawyer Bruce Fein support decriminalization. “The time is right for this and Facebook shutting this down is a real blow when we are trying to open up a conversation…”

“It seems like a decision made to appease somebody’s grandma,” Hamsher said.

More like a decision made to appease some reactionary investor. Or reactionary potential investor.

3 thoughts on “Facebook bans image in marijuana legalization advert

  1. Mr Ian says:

    I’m very much pro-legalization, and though events like these aren’t helpful, I think they are understandable.
    Sites like Facebook are International, and advertising is a key revenue to them. Not all countries and companies have the same views on cannabis, so Facebook won’t want to be seen actively promoting it, to avoid offence or misunderstanding with less tolerant parties. Many of whom generate significantly more income than a “Free the weed” group

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