Three weeks ago, leading pot shop locator service Weedmaps announced that it would remove the all unlicensed cannabis company listings from its website. Now the company announced, that it has, you know, still been meaning to get around to that.
It seems that announcement was too little too late for some, with one trade group petitioning the state of California to charge Weedmaps with $85 million in fines for its complicity with the marijuana’s black market.
In the past, Weedmaps has not exactly been a stickler about cannabis licenses with the vendors it lists. This is especially perceived as a problem in California, where nearly 3,000 illegal dispensaries and delivery services far outnumber the 800 and change licensed ones.
In response to rising criticism, Weedmaps announced in a press release last week that it will require all retailers in California who use its site to provide state license numbers in order to maintain their account. The company has also said it will out forth some vaguely outlined services to help consumers and retailers remain compliant with local law.
Weedmaps’s announcement made sure to mention that the program was going to be really well done and also that it will have no effect whatsoever.
“Just three weeks ago, we announced a first-of-its-kind program to help social equity participants gain a rightful foothold in the cannabis industry. We also announced our plan to use the power of our platform to help support licensed cannabis businesses,” Weedmaps CEO Chris Beals said in the press release.
“While these policy changes will only have a symbolic impact on the size of California’s unlicensed market without more licensing opportunities and other large listing platforms following suit, we want to continue to lead by example.”
Despite Weedmaps’ mixed messages, the United Cannabis Business Association (UCBA), a trade group or largely Southern California retailers, still wants to bankrupt them. The group has sent a letter to California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Bureau of Cannabis Control chief Lori Ajax, requesting that Weedmaps be fined for listing unlicensed companies, seeking the maximum penalty of $85 million.
Dang! Weedmaps may be losing that unlicensed pot shop ad revenue at the wrong moment.