Weedmaps is a handy app that helps people locate the nearest marijuana dispensary to their current location. But the state of California wants them to tweak their formula.
California's cannabis czar sent a cease-and-desist letter to Weedmaps demanding that they only promote marijuana dispensaries in California that have obtained a license from the state. The state claims that Weedmaps is aiding and abetting these businesses that are in violation of California's new recreational marijuana laws, and that they could face penalties if they continue to do so.
The state of California has supposedly sent out over 900 cease-and-desist letters so far this year regarding businesses in violation of the new cannabis laws. But this is the first time a letter was sent to an advertising company, and not just a marijuana dispensary operating without a license. In fact, a spokesperson for the state says they've found many of the 900-plus black market dispensaries they've sent letters to through Weedmaps.
While Weedmaps hasn't commented specifically about the cease-and-desist, in previous interviews they've stated that they plan to continue showing ads for unlicensed dispensaries. They argue that they're simply an advertising platform, and that the only illegal activity being committed is by the dispensary. They also note that these illegal dispensaries would still be found on Google, Yelp, Craigslist and any number of other websites even if Weedmaps were to remove them.
“To sort of say, ‘Let’s pretend an illegal market doesn’t exist’ or that people can’t just type ‘dispensary’ into Google and find this information… isn’t really realistic," said Weedmaps president Christopher Beals.
Considering Weedmaps was sent this letter back in February and has continued operating as usual, we're guessing this saga is not close to being over.
(h/t OC Register)