According to Marijuana Business Daily, the “honeymoon is over for Weedmaps and California’s gray-market marijuana businesses.” Multiple cannabis news outlets have now reported that Weedmaps and 900 or so other companies recently received cease-and-desist letters for a variety of infractions from the California Cannabis Bureau.
Delivering legal advertising across the board has been immensely difficult for many cannabis companies. 90 days ago, thousands of retailers, farms, and brands whom were listed on major cannabis websites were perfectly compliant. Now, many of them aren’t.
All over California, many retailers, delivery services, and medical collectives who are still “unlicensed” have had to close doors and deny patient access, removing their ability to be legally advertised. Many of these same unlicensed companies are still actively offering their services and listing on Weedmaps.
Per Culture Magazine, California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control didn’t just focus on Weedmaps, sending out more than 900 letter to unlicensed “plant-touching” companies. When it comes to advertising unlicensed cannabis companies, Seattle-based Leafly released a statement in early February letting consumers know that changes were coming as of March 1st, 2018.
“After careful consideration of California’s new cannabis regulations, Leafly has informed customers that the site and app will only list state-licensed retailers and delivery services in California starting March 1, 2018.
Leafly’s mission is to help consumers make informed choices about cannabis and where to find it. The California state government has made clear that only licensed retailers and delivery services may advertise via technology platforms. State and local governments in California are working diligently to process licenses for approved applicants. Leafly is optimistic that it will be able to list more clients as the licensing process progresses.” – BusinessWire
The restrictions surrounding cannabis are going to be difficult for the foreseeable future. With the recreational market starting to take shape, it makes sense that California’s government would start solidifying the digital landscape. Companies will have to be flexible and maintain 100 percent compliance to scale growth from year to year on every available platform.