The “Just Say Now” cannabis legalization campaign says they spent around $5,000 to buy an ad on the social networking giant Facebook. The ad ran about a week and pulled some 38 million views before it vanished from FB.

A spokesman for Facebook said they don’t have a problem with marijuana legalization itself, but that the marijuana leaf used in the ad falls under the category of “promoting smoking.”

Michael Whitney, the group’s online campaign director, said Facebook’s move is akin to striking a candidate’s face from his posters while he’s running for office. Marijuana legalization is on the ballot this November in Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon and South Dakota.

“We are talking about free political speech,” Mr. Whitney said. “We aren’t encouraging people to do anything illegal.”

The thing about FB is that they can make their own rules. With over 400 million users worldwide, if they want to have a marijuana leaf in an ad for marijuana legalization, what’s anyone going to do about it? True, they may be a little gun shy after a series of debacles involving the privacy of their members, but it seems a stretch to me to say a leaf promotes smoking.

I must admit that as a user, I’m not a fan of Facebook. I much preferred Myspace, but no one is there anymore so I left too. Everyone went to FB, so I went there too. Yes, I’m quite the follower. But the only thing appealing to FB for me is the amount of people I can reach. Everything else is a drag on my time. And I would dare say that unless they get things together, FB might be overtaken by another social networking site, the same way it supplanted Myspace.

Joe Klare