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Pot leaf ads rejected by Facebook now appearing on Google

August 25, 2010 | 10:29 pm

The pot leaf that Facebook said promoted “illegal content” and banished from advertisements on its popular site has reappeared on the Web via Google.

The ads, which include a marijuana leaf in a quote bubble, ask readers to “end the war on marijuana” and sign a petition to President Obama to allow states to legalize the substance.

The social-networking website has decided that its advertising guidelines do not allow marijuana leaves to appear in ads, although marijuana leaves appear on numerous free Facebook pages devoted to the weed. Facebook ran the marijuana leaf ad from the Just Say Now campaign for more than a week before deciding to reject it.

“Facebook’s concocted prissiness over political advocacy is more to be disparaged than imitated,” Bruce Fein, a lawyer and author who worked in President Reagan’s Justice Department and a Just Say Now advisory board member, said in a statement. “Freedom of expression is made of sterner stuff. Google deserves applause for exposing Facebook to shame.”

Annie Ta, a Facebook spokeswoman, said Wednesday that the company’s position was unchanged.

Google spokeswoman Diana Adair declined to discuss the company’s decision to accept the ads, noting that the firm does not talk about specific advertisers.

Adair had indicated earlier that the search engine’s policies would probably allow a pot leaf in an ad.

The two tech firms are located about six miles apart in Silicon Valley.

On Wednesday, the Libertarian Party also said Facebook had rejected an ad last month with an image superimposing the party’s Statue of Liberty logo over a pot leaf. The ad touts the party as the only one to support complete legalization of marijuana.

Wes Benedict, the party’s executive director, called Facebook’s action ridiculous.

“We recognize Facebook’s right to control their content and censor whoever they want,” he said in a statement. “But we’re also exercising our First Amendment right to complain about their bad decision, and to alert other consumers to put pressure on them.”

-- John Hoeffel