Earlier this week, the state of California told the app Weedmaps to only promote marijuana dispensaries with legal licenses from the state or face legal action. But it appears Weedmaps is going to take the latter option.
Weedmaps responded to the state's letter by saying they don't have the legal authority to enforce their threat. The company noted that the California Bureau of Cannabis Control, who sent the letter to Weedmaps, only licenses dispensaries and growers for the industry. Weedmaps is simply an advertising platform for marijuana businesses, and does not require a license from the bureau to operate. The company, therefore, said the bureau is not authorized to enforce regulations on their operations.
The company also said they're protected as a "interactive computer service" under the Communications Decency Act. Essentially this means that they should not be punished for information they publish if the information is given by a third-party. This protection is meant for companies like Facebook or Google or other new media sites that rely on user-generated content, and means the companies can't be punished for false or illegal content posted on their platforms.
By promoting all marijuana dispensaries, and not just legal ones, Weedmaps is operating no differently than Yelp or Google Maps or countless other websites available online. To target only Weedmaps is somewhat ridiculous, because information for non-licensed dispensaries would still be easy to find elsewhere.
(h/t Sacramento Bee)