For Immediate Release
May 13, 2016
Media Contact: Andrew Mangini – (518) 326-6400 or (518) 598-6324
Vireo’s Campaign Against Google Goes National
13,000+ Digital Activists from 50 States Sign ‘Google: Stop Rejecting Medical Marijuana Ads’ Petition
New York, NY – Vireo Health of New York (“Vireo”), one of five companies licensed by the New York State Department of Health to produce and distribute medical cannabis, has received an outpouring of public support behind their campaign urging Google (NASDAQ – GOOG) to stop rejecting advertisements containing the words “medical cannabis,” and “medical marijuana.” The company’s Change.org online petition has now amassed more than 13,000 supporters, garnering signatures from activists in all 50 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico. The petition can be found here.
“The fight for sensible medical cannabis policies ought not be limited to the halls of Congress or state legislatures, but must also extend into corporate board rooms. Corporations like Google, must be held accountable for their actions,” said Ari Hoffnung, CEO of Vireo Health New York. “Until Google lives up to its own ‘do the right thing’ corporate value, we will continue to shine a bright light on those policies that restrict our ability to freely communicate with New Yorkers who suffer with debilitating pain from life-threatening conditions such as cancer, ALS and HIV/AIDS.”
This milestone represents the latest development in a series of events which began on February 14. That day, Vireo received an initial rejection notice for advertisements containing the aforementioned terms. Following a public plea for the tech giant to reverse their decision, Google instead proceeded by rejecting several additional ads, even those without the words ‘medical cannabis’ or ‘medical marijuana.’
Vireo contends that its products, which cannot be sold for recreational purposes under the New York State Compassionate Care Act, ought not fall under Google’s advertising policy, which prohibits “the promotion of substances that alter mental state for the purpose of recreation.”
Vireo’s leadership has made repeated efforts to discuss the situation with Google. Additionally, Hoffnung has made himself available, offering to discuss this matter personally, with help from a group of Vireo’s patients. The tech giant has yet to respond to any of these requests.
- April 20, 2016: Vireo launches an online petition to add supporters to their cause.
- April 7, 2016: State Senator Diane Savino, sponsor of the Compassionate Care Act, sent a letter to Google asking the company to reconsider its stance.
- March 18, 2016: Rejection Notice for Ads that did not use the terms ‘medical cannabis’ or ‘medical marijuana’
- March 15, 2016: Letter to Google Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin
- February 14, 2016: Rejection Notice for Ads that use the terms ‘medical cannabis’ or ‘medical marijuana’
About Vireo Health of New York
Vireo Health of New York is a physician-led company dedicated to providing best-in-class cannabis-based medications and top quality patient care. The company provides a wide array of pharmaceutical grade cannabis-based products formulated from the highest quality, pesticide-free plants and utilizes its separation chemistry capabilities to create products with novel cannabinoid combinations. Vireo Health of New York is a wholly owned subsidiary of Vireo Health, LLC. For more information, visit http:/www.vireohealthny.com.
About the New York State Compassionate Care Act
New York State Governor Cuomo signed the Compassionate Care Act into law on July 5, 2014. It allows patients to use medical cannabis if they have been diagnosed with a specific severe, debilitating or life threatening condition that is accompanied by an associated or complicating condition.
The law identifies several severe, debilitating or life threatening conditions including: cancer, HIV infection or AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and epilepsy. The associated or complicating conditions are cachexia or wasting syndrome, severe or chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures or severe or persistent muscle spasms.
Physicians must complete a four-hour New York State Department of Health approved course and register with the Department to certify patients. Practitioners must consult the New York State Prescription Monitoring Program Registry prior to issuing a certification to a patient for medical cannabis.
Patients who are certified by their practitioners must apply to the Department to obtain a registry identification card in order to obtain medical cannabis in accordance with any recommendations made by the patient’s practitioner. During the patient registration process, certified patients may designate up to two caregivers, who must also register with the Department, to obtain and administer medical cannabis products on behalf of the patients.
Registered organizations may only manufacture medical cannabis products in forms approved by the Commissioner. Approved forms currently include liquid or oil preparations for metered oromucosal or sublingual administration or administration per tube, metered liquid or oil preparations for vaporization, and capsules for oral administration. The Compassionate Care Act expressly provides that a certified medical use of cannabis does not include smoking. For more information, visit https://www.health.ny.gov/regulations/medical_marijuana/.