On Boxing Day Wee received an unexpected gift from Facebook. Without warning, Facebook unpublished The Wee Hemp Company's page claiming that Wee "Promote the sale of prescription pharmaceuticals" which violates Facebooks page policies.
It seems Facebook has taken the Christmas period as an opportunity to catch companies off-guard, with many pages being shut down on Boxing Day. To add insult to injury, they didn't even have the decency to notify the companies in question.
In the UK, CBD (or cannabidiol) is sold in the form of a food supplement, e-liquid or cosmetic.
In America, Epidiolex (the first FDA-approved CBD medication) is classed as a pharmaceutical.
Now that America has classed Epidiolex as a pharmaceutical they have concluded that ALL CBD products worldwide are now pharmaceuticals & Facebook, in all its wisdom, has unpublished many companies main point of contact to their customers.
When questioned by another UK CBD company Facebook replied:
“Even though hemp products may be legal in some countries & states. It is not yet defined on the platform [Facebook]."
After explaining that CBD & hemp are legal & sold as food supplements in the UK, they continued;
“Facebook is an international company, as this is our current policy, this decision can not be appealed at this time.”
Facebook & The Hemp/Cannabis Industry
Facebook has a long history of not playing nicely with hemp related pages.
As the legalisation of cannabis came to Canada on October 17th 2018, Facebook decided to end its “shadow banning” of cannabis-themed pages (& in the process actually admitted they did indeed shadow ban pages).
This lifting of shadow banning pages however was very short lived & this festive period they have performed a complete 360 degree turn & have unpublish, without warning, hemp/cannabis related pages taking the main point of contact away from small, family run businesses to their customers.
The Farm Bill
Everyone thought when the Farm Bill (properly known as the Agricultural Improvement Bill, 2018) passed on the 20th of December, 2018, the federal legalisation of hemp would have a positive effect on the CBD business, in particular that Facebook would stop its persecution once & for all of CBD & hemp businesses for promoting & selling what it called ‘illegal drugs’.
The reality seems to be exactly the opposite. Facebook seems to have stepped up its attack on businesses & the rate of closure of CBD & hemp pages & groups has accelerated dramatically.
The justification provided has now changed & Facebook says it is closing these pages because they are promoting & selling prescription pharmaceuticals which is not true.
What Is Going On?
The Farm Bill does indeed remove hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, which means that it will no longer be an illegal substance under federal law. The same also applies to derivatives of hemp. However, if anything, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) now has more control over cannabis derivatives, including CBD, than before.
Its role, just like the MHRA in the UK, is to regulate products under the Federal Food, Drug, & Cosmetic Act and the Public Health Service Act. All this with the purpose of protecting public health.
CBD & hemp products are no longer illegal drugs but the FDA is now concerned about the same issue that drove the MHRA to intervene in the CBD business in the UK in 2016.
It’s the proliferation of medical claims for the products.
Exactly the same as in the UK, it is unlawful to make claims of medicinal benefit for a product that doesn’t have the necessary licence, authorisation or statutory approval.
This is why Facebook shutting us down baffles us even more now as The Wee Hemp Company never have & never will make ANY medicinal claims regarding our CBD products yet plenty other do without consequence.
Wee work 100% within UK & EU law & rely on social media for a large percentage of our interaction with our customers.
Where Do Wee Go From Here?
Wee are a small fish in a vast ocean, it's now feeding time for the sharks....
The future is now uncertain for The Wee Hemp Company. Social media is a massive part of our company & is the main point of contact to our customers. Unfortunately Facebook hold all the cards & a small, family run business doesn't stand a chance against them.
However, this will not deter us & Wee will keep fighting. Our products are helping too many people to stop now.
Wee follow the law strictly, never make any medicinal claims & always aim to empower Wee Hempers with the right knowledge so they can make their own decisions & take their health & wellness into their own hands.
As a lot of Wee Hempers know, education is a major part in what Wee do, breaking the stigma surrounding this wonderful plant is a full time job in itself. Facebook have now sent the whole industry back many years, if not decades with their outdated views, rules & regulations.
Wee usually would not do this sort of thing but Wee really need your help!
If Wee can ask a huge favour from our Wee Hempers- it would be to please share this blog far & wide to make as many people aware of what the industry is up against. Having both been made redundant this is our only source of household income at present, so Wee really appreciate your support in advance.
To keep up to date on all things Wee Hemp, please click here to sign up to our newsletter & connect with Rebecca Ahh on Facebook and/ Rebecca Napier on LinkedIn.
Wee have overcome many major challenges/ adversities in life, but Wee will not give up! Our passion to help, inspire & educate will help us conquer this new challenge.
Calum & Rebecca x