Weedmaps Archives - Green Market Report

William SumnerWilliam SumnerApril 4, 2018


The cannabis technology company, MassRoots (MSRT), today reaffirmed its commitment to being compliant with California state law by announcing that it would only list state-licensed cannabis dispensaries on its platform.

Over the next few weeks, the company intends to launch an updated version of its business portal and dispensary finder. In order to become listed on MassRoots, cannabis dispensaries will have to pay the company a minimum of $199 a month.

The announcement comes in the wake of the controversy surrounding MassRoots competitor, Weedmaps. Last month, Weedmaps received a cease-and-desist letter from the California Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) demanding that the company stop listing unlicensed dispensaries on its platform.

Defying the bureau’s request, Weedmaps responded by saying that the bureau does not have the authority to regulate it and that the site “interactive computer service” covered under the federal Communications Decency Act, which protects technology companies from prosecution over any illicit activities performed on their platform.

Weedmaps also argued they by not listing unlicensed dispensaries, the state is merely ignoring the underlying regulatory issues as to why those dispensaries are unlicensed in the first place. Nevertheless, other competitors, such as Leafly and now MassRoots, have announced that they would no longer list illegal dispensaries. So far, the state has not taken any action against Weedmaps but that hardly means that the fight is yet over.

“We believe that operating in full compliance with state cannabis regulations is crucial to creating long-term, sustainable shareholder value and building confidence with consumers as well as local, state and federal regulatory organizations,” said MassRoots CEO, Isaac Dietrich, in a statement. “Other services that continue to drive traffic to unlicensed dispensaries are punishing businesses that have invested significant time and resources to gain compliance with state regulations. We view this as an opportunity to build long-term relationships with compliant dispensaries that we believe are the future of the cannabis industry.”

William SumnerWilliam SumnerMarch 13, 2018


The online cannabis community Weedmaps, where users can rate cannabis strains and find local dispensaries, is pushing back against demands from the California Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) that the site cease displaying ads for unlicensed cannabis dispensaries. Earlier this year, BCC chief Lori Ajax sent a cease-and-desist letter to the owners of Weedmaps, claiming that the website was in violation of the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulations and Safety Act (MAUCRSA).

Specifically, Ajax pointed to provisions in the bill governing the advertisement of cannabis and cannabis products which states that technology platforms may not run advertisements unless the ad displays the cannabis licensee’s name and license number; which unlicensed dispensaries do not have. In response to the Ajax’s request, Weedmaps sent its own letter to the BCC stating that the bureau did not have the authority to regulate them as they are an “interactive computer service,” which is covered under the Communications Decency Act.

The letter goes on to say that the issue surrounding unlicensed dispensaries has less to do with Weedmaps and more to do with the fact that small cannabis businesses, many of whom have been in operation for nearly two decades, are unable to become licensed.

“Scrubbing the internet of the reality of unlicensed operators that have created thousands of jobs over the last 20 years does nothing to fix the underlying issues,” the letter reads. “It is simply opening a new face of regulatory ‘whack-a-mole’ when the ultimate cause is broken policy…”

Although Weedmaps is confident in their defense, some legal experts are not so sure. Speaking with Green Market Report, Silvia San Nicolas, President and CEO of New Game Compliance, characterized Weedmaps’ policy as both illegal and irresponsible.

“Promoting unlicensed cannabis operations is promoting illegal operations. It is irresponsible and a disservice to both the licensed and unlicensed alike,” said San Nicolas. “For the unlicensed operations it’s a target list for authorities and multi-agency enforcement action. For licensed operations it fosters unfair competition in an already arduous environment. If the California cannabis industry is going to survive and thrive, all stakeholders must embrace the regulatory mandates. Ancillary providers are no exception.”

Currently, neither Ajax nor the BCC has responded to Weedmaps’ defense letter and no legal action has yet been taken against the company.

Weedmaps is not the only cannabis company in the state to be hit by a cease-and-desist letter. Since the start of this year, hundreds of cannabis companies have been hit by such letters. On the other hand, some cannabis companies, like the online platform tökr, have avoided the issue altogether by only working with licensed dispensaries.

“The decision for tökr to work only with legal and licensed dispensaries and brands was an easy one,” said tökr co-founder Brian Campbell. “To validate dispensaries and brands, we work with the city, state and government resources to verify all of our partners are properly licensed and in compliance. With that said, California’s regulatory agencies are working hard to shut down bad players in the space and ensure consumers have access to safe products at compliant locations, which is doing a tremendous amount of good for the sector.”

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The Green Market Report focuses on the financial news of the rapidly growing cannabis industry. Our target approach filters out the daily noise and does a deep dive into the financial, business and economic side of the cannabis industry. Our team is cultivating the industry’s critical news into one source and providing open source insights and data analysis


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