Kentucky companies selling hemp products get booted from Facebook

Published: Jan. 3, 2019 at 8:38 PM EST
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A new business made its home in downtown Cynthiana in recent months, selling the latest craze in natural remedies just in time for many people's New Year's resolution of getting healthy.

The Rocky Ridge Hemp Company now sells CBD oil from their new store front location just off Main Street. CBD oil is a product that comes from the hemp plant, that won't get you high, unlike the hemp industry that has reached new heights in Kentucky.

"We were looking to really kick off 2019 with a bang, but now we're kind of down and out right now," said Rocky Ridge Hemp Company owner Jason Marshall.

That's because Marshall, and other hemp-product sellers across the country, are being cut off from one of their most effective means of awareness and advertisement: Facebook.

"We just woke up one morning and we had a note that our page had been unpublished," said Marshall. The social media giant gave a reason for the move, that just doesn't make sense to farmers selling their over-the-counter products.

"They were claiming we were promoting prescription pharmaceuticals," said Marshall. If true, the page would be in violation of a Facebook policy. However, WKYT found no prescription drugs in their store, or on their now unpublished company Facebook page.

Marshall and other businesses owners are confused and frustrated by the setback, especially after a national bill was signed at the end of 2018 which opened legal hold-backs for hemp farmers and their hemp products.

"We really supported the passage of the Farm Bill, in hoping that it would move this industry forward, and now it seems to be working the other way," said Marshall.

Perhaps Facebook made a mistake? That theory seems unlikely, since Facebook denied appeals from Marshall and others to get their pages reinstated after they fought the accusation of "promoting prescription pharmaceuticals."

The decision is already taking its toll on the Rocky Ridge Hemp Company who does a lot of shipments for clients who find them online. "Definitely it's been slower. A lot less, if it's just somebody asking a question or inquiring about a price or what the product would do for them, we've kind of lost that life line there," said Marshall.

While hemp experts say this has been an on-going issue for years, many sellers in Kentucky were blocked in the last few weeks.