Weedmaps Defies Bureau of Cannabis Control Order to Stop Advertising
The California Bureau of Cannabis Control has issued a cease and desist order to Weedmaps. According to Orange County Register, The Bureau of Cannabis Control issued the order on Feb. 16, which directed the company that lists menus and gives locations for marijuana dispensaries to stop advertising for businesses that are not legal and state-licensed.
The cease and desist order cites Senate Bill 94, which says that it is mandatory to list the California license numbers for any retail outlet-marijuana advertisements. California Bureau of Cannabis Control Chief Lori Ajax issued the order which says in part “You are aiding and abetting in violation of state cannabis laws.”
The California Bureau of Cannabis Control spokesman Alex Traverso said that the bureau mailed over 900 cease and desist orders to businesses without a state license, adding that most illegal shops were found on Weedmaps.
One Weedmaps competitor, Leafly, made an announcement that said the state of California has clearly specified that only state-licensed marijuana delivery and retail businesses may advertise on the internet, adding that they will stop advertisements for illegal retailers on March 1.
Ajax also notes in the order that if Weedmaps did not stop the advertisements instantly for the illegal pot shops, the internet company would be liable for fines for each criminal advertisement on their website.
President of Weedmaps Christopher Beals said prior to the cease and desist order that they are just an information platform and they are only providing the same information that Google and other search engines provide, adding that it is the government’s responsibility to regulate the legal market to control the illegal market.
Weedmaps has essentially ignored the cease and desist order. Lawyer and pot shop owner Aaron Herzberg said that he is surprised by Weedmaps’ defiance because they backed marijuana legalization and regulation for the industry. He says that there was no regulating system in place before, but now that there is, the only incentive to continue advertisements for illegal pot shops is money.
The California Bureau of Cannabis Control said that no law enforcement is planned as of yet and they are giving businesses time to become legal.