Our online shop was completely offline recently as we were unable to take online payments. Why? The simple answer is globalization. Our small family business had fallen foul of large multinational's inability (or unwillingness) to apply Irish law to its Irish Customers (or even EU law to its European customers).
Without any warning, a few weeks ago our online payment processor froze our account, citing the fact that we stock CBD oil as the reason. To say this caused a few frustrating weeks is an understatement.
CBD as a food supplement is fully legal in Ireland. We have been selling it for over 2 years and our customers have been reporting amazing responses to a wide range of health issues.
What you won't know is that over the course of the last 2 years, Paypal shut down our payments processing account, Facebook shut down our Ad account, Google shut down our Ad account and, just last month, Stripe shut down our payment processing account. All because we sell (legal) CBD food supplements in our online shop.
It's an odd situation to find yourself in, as a small family-run business supplying your local market, to have to defend your right to sell a legal product to companies as big and as multi-national as Google, Facebook, and Paypal.
The latest situation with Stripe happened just 4 weeks ago, when, after 2 years of dealing with the company (which was ironically started by 2 lads from Limerick) we got an email with the following message: ''While we hate to give you anything less than a great experience, it does seem that your business is in violation of the Stripe Services Agreement, section A.7.b ("Restricted Businesses and Activities"). These regulations are firm, so we sadly have no flexibility with them. "
The thing is though, when you go to section A.7.b ("Restricted Businesses and Activities") you won't find a mention of CBD. That was a bit confusing, and we asked them how we should have known that CBD was restricted if it's not actually mentioned by name.
Basically, it turns out that Stripe, just like Paypal, Google and Facebook, make their own rules up as they go along and despite CBD food supplements being legal in Ireland (Europe and many individual US States), these companies are following US Federal laws and in the US, CBD is not legalized at the Federal level, and for this reason, we have been (nearly) prevented from selling CBD online in Ireland.
Facebook won't allow us to boost posts that contain a mention of CBD, and they shut down our Ad account completely when we had accidentally placed a CBD product on the homepage of our website (though you might ask what exactly does that have to do with them?). Google won't allow us to run Google ads for CBD products. Paypal and Stripe won't process our online payments if CBD products are anywhere on our website. And it's not just us - in the US Facebook is being taken to court for disabling the Ad account of a small business who advertised CBD Spa treatments without realising that it was against FB company policy. It is also well known that Facebook is 'unpublishing' community groups and pages all over the world that advocate for the use of CBD for health issues. For this reason, you won't see this blog post appearing on our FB page like all the others we publish (we got a new Ad account set up and we really don't want to lose our FB page at the moment)
Our experiences which, have been very stressful for our business and our customers raise some other bigger questions. How is it possible for companies like Facebook, Google & Paypal, each of whom has a virtual monopoly in its own sector at this point, to offer services in our country and then subject it's customers to the laws of a different jurisdiction? It's not really possible to build an online business without social media engagement, adverting or payment services and yet these companies are withholding services to us based on U.S. Federal law?
But luckily perseverance pays off, and though it’s taken a bit of research, we’ve finally found a new payments processor that has no problem with online sales of CBD oil. This means you can now order CBD through organico.ie again. Our new payments processor is based in Denmark, and although they still process payments for the big US companies like Visa and Mastercard they don't seem to be as intimidated by them, and they seem happy to follow EU rules around CBD rather than US rules.
Other CBD News....
We’ve added an excellent new range of CBD, Cannabigold, to our stock, and it’s now on special offer. And we continue to have great special offers on The Hemp Company CBD and CB1 Botanicals.
We’ve also been told that Charlotte’s Web will be available again soon! Why Charlotte's Web became unavailable in Europe is a story for another day...
If you’d like to be kept in the loop about CBD special offers, new brands, and when Charlotte’s Web becomes available, then the best way to do that is to join our newsletter. Just go to the bottom of any page on our site (including this one!) and enter your email address. We send out a newsletter roughly every 2 weeks with health tips and news, special offers, recipes and giveaways.
Thank you for your patience and your support as we dealt with the whole online payment rigmarole.