In an effort to reduce the number of unlicensed cannabis businesses and illicit transactions in legal states, Weedmaps recently announced the details of a plan to remove these businesses and individuals. Despite the fact that adult-use cannabis is legal in the state of California, there is still a large black market. Weedmaps aims to do its part to push back against these illegal transactions.
The company’s plan is in response to allegations that Weedmaps is contributing to illicit cannabis sales, particularly in California. Additionally, the popular cannabis platform also announced that they would be taking steps to support licensed, minority-owned cannabis businesses.
“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,” said Chris Beals, the CEO of Weedmaps, in a 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.”
Weedmaps added that they plan to add improvements to the website so that users can better identify and support licensed businesses. The company says they also intend to add licensing and compliance information to the website regarding proper and legal delivery and tracking regulations.
The United Cannabis Business Association requested that Weedmaps be fined up to $85 million for violating California state regulations.
“We request the state immediately and retroactively impose the maximum fines permissible by law on Weedmaps’ illegal operations,” wrote the UCBA.
The UCBA also wrote how unlicensed cannabis businesses have been partially blamed for the rise of lung illnesses due to black market vape cartridges. These unregulated carts have been identified as one cause of the vaping-related lung illnesses that so far have affected nearly 500 cannabis and nicotine consumers, at least six of which have lost their lives.
The trade association added that there were 2,835 unlicensed cannabis locations and delivery services currently operating in California. Comparatively, there are only 837 licensed retailers operating in California’s legal cannabis market.
Hopefully, these changes to the Weedmaps platform will help push back against illicit and unlicensed cannabis sales in the Golden State.