And on page after page, Weedmaps was listing what looked like license numbers for each shop and delivery service in California. An uninformed visitor might have assumed these were state license numbers. According to Taft and Longwith, Ajax was surprised. Weedmaps added that these numbers were only briefly visible to the public while the company was developing a way for businesses to add their state license numbers to their pages, in compliance with California law. At some point, the WM ID numbers were removed from public view.
The following week, the California State Assembly held a hearing on legalization, the second half of which was dominated by two concerns: What more could California do to shut down illegal operators, and how could it stop the advertising of unlicensed businesses? It claimed protection under Section and asserted that many listings on the site were for those lawful cannabis collectives.
The section protects platforms from liability for content posted by third parties.
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All businesses represent that they are in compliance with applicable state and local law. It is important to note that Weedmaps is an agnostic information platform. Listing policy is uniform, and does not vary by geographical jurisdiction. But Weedmaps also has something rare for a tech company: a lucrative niche that is at least temporarily safe from the acquire-or-crush tactics of tech giants.
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Local television stations, too, shy away from accepting pot ads. The US Postal Service has even issued a statement classifying publications containing ads for marijuana as undeliverable. To obtain licenses in the state, weed businesses must pay taxes and follow rules on everything from zoning and transportation to packaging.
Compliance is expensive. For now, the actions state and local law enforcement have taken such as serving warrants have focused on illicit operators themselves—not on the websites that make those businesses more accessible to the public. The state has sent letters to about 1, illicit operators, ordering them to either obtain a license or close. In December, WIRED found that at least a third of those individual businesses were still listed on Weedmaps without a valid license number.
California might have parallel marijuana markets—one legal, one illegal—for a very long time.
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And some marijuana dispensaries are paying a percentage of their profits to a website that gives them visibility, whether or not they follow the rules. This article appears in the February issue. Subscribe now. Let us know what you think about this article.
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State regulators last month warned Weedmaps to stop advertising shops operating outside the law. The company sees the core of the problem as a scarcity of legal outlets and hefty taxes that scare off consumers from licensed shops, not its online ads. In Los Angeles, where the pace of city licensing has been sluggish, only about retail shops have authority to operate, while city officials acknowledge hundreds more are making illegal sales.
Weedmaps says its experience dropping unlicensed businesses from its listings in Washington, Oregon, Nevada and Massachusetts had no impact on the size of those unlicensed markets. A key section of that law is designed to protect internet publishers, generally providing immunity to them for content posted by users.
But Kiloh is among those who argue Weedmaps is far more than an advertising platform, noting consumers can use the site to submit orders and summon deliveries from shops legal and otherwise. We believe that comfort and convenience should be the standard when purchasing your medical, CBD and Recreational Marijuana San Diego products. We take this to heart and strive to provide our customers with the best shopping experience possible.
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We have a unique team of individuals with certifications in MMJ testing to ensure the highest quality products for our store. We only work with the best flower, vapor, and edible producers in Cali. When you call us we will bring our store front with us so that you can see the amazing products. All Medical Marijuana patients are required to have a valid recommendation from a doctor pursuant to Prop , and a valid California State ID.
As a non-profit cooperative, we provide the highest quality medications at the lowest prices possible, and only accept donations for the time and costs of producing our medications. We ensure all of our patient members the privacy and discretion they deserve. We treat all of our patients with the highest standards of compassionate care and rigorously observe the laws set by the state of California.
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