LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. — The new year looked like it would be a good one for CBD retailers after inclusion in the 2018 Farm Bill. But some local businesses have logged on to find out their Facebook pages have been shut down.
Philip Wilson, owner of Sacred Leaf Lee's Summit, said most of his company's following in its six months in business has been driven by social media and interest in the growing popularity of CBD oil.
“Facebook has always been that first line that you are able to get out into your communities and introduce the product and bring people and invite them into your store. So social media is a very strong piece of what we do,” Wilson said.
Just before Christmas when he logged on to the company's Facebook page, he got the following message: “Your page has been unpublished. It looks like recent activity doesn't follow the Facebook page policies.”
He's not alone, six other Sacred Leaf retailers as well as Native Hemp Co., also based in Lee's Summit, got similar sudden notifications with few details.
“There was no communication. There was no phone number. There was no way to get a hold of anybody. It was just, ‘You've been shut down,'” Wilson said.
He thinks CBD is being targeted by big pharmaceuticals who aren't allowed to promote the sale of prescription drugs on Facebook pages.
“It's absolutely censorship. It's censorship on the highest level,” Wilson said.
CBD is derived from hemp but has no THC to get users high. Supporters use it for pain management, anxiety and a host of other reasons.
But retailers have to be careful about any claims they make of CBD's healing powers on Facebook pages, so the social media giant won't have to deal with the FDA.
Facebook seems to have been quickly denying appeals. A media representative for the company told FOX4 she'd look into the matter.
In the meantime, CBD retailers who were expecting 2019 to be their biggest year yet are left wondering how to connect with customers.
“If you do a search for Sacred Leaf Lee's Summit, it's just gone with no indication of why or where it went to,” Wilson said.