For Immediate Release
March 21, 2015
Media Contact: Jill Montag – (518) 326-6400 and (518) 852-8188
Vireo Slams Google for Choosing Retaliation Over Engagement
Tech giant rejects two additional advertisements hours after medical cannabis company made public plea to freely communicate with patients suffering from debilitating conditions like cancer, ALS and HIV/AIDS
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 sell medical cannabis, strongly criticized Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) for rejecting two additional advertisements only hours after the Company made its plea public.
Before Friday afternoon Google had rejected seven of Vireo’s advertisements, all of which used the words ‘medical marijuana’ or ‘medical cannabis,’ but had allowed the Company to continue running two advertisements that did not use those terms. That changed at 4:13 p.m. on Friday, when Google rejected the two remaining advertisements that did not use those terms.
“We are shocked and dismayed that Google chose to retaliate instead of engaging in a constructive dialogue,” said Ari Hoffnung, CEO of Vireo Health of New York. We continue to call on Google to stay true to their ‘do no evil’ corporate values and lift those restrictions preventing us from freely communicating with New Yorkers suffering from life-threatening and debilitating conditions like cancer, ALS and HIV/AIDS.”
“As a physician, it’s hard to understand why Google willingly accepts ads that promote highly addictive painkillers, like OxyContin, that are responsible for thousands of deaths each year, but knowingly rejects medical cannabis ads that could, in many cases, be a significantly safer therapeutic option for patients,” said Dr. Kyle Kingsley, CEO of Vireo Health, the parent company of Vireo Health of New York and Minnesota Medical Solutions.
“More broadly speaking, I think it is going to be challenging for Google to explain why it is comfortable accepting advertisements from companies that promote the sale of alcohol, knives, hatchets and infidelity, but is uncomfortable accepting ads from medical cannabis companies. We don’t live in a black and white world, and Google ought to adopt more thoughtful and nuanced advertising policies. Rejecting medical cannabis ads is not only out of sync with American public opinion but also with the laws of 23 states and the District of Columbia,” said Hoffnung.
Vireo is confident that its advertisements comply with Google’s policy that prohibits the ‘promotion of substances that alter mental state for the purpose of recreation’ since all Company products are sold strictly and exclusively for medicinal purposes and in conformance with New York State law.
Vireo officials have repeatedly attempted to engage with Google to discuss this situation, even offering to facilitate a meeting between Google decision-makers and medical cannabis patients. To date, Google has not responded to any of these requests.
- March 18, 2016 Rejection Notice for Ads that did not use the terms ‘medical cannabis’ or ‘medical marijuana’
- March 18, 2016 Press Release
- 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/.