Weedmaps is one of the most popular cannabis platforms in the country right now, but a large chunk of their growth has been fueled by illegal or so-called gray market businesses. This week they came out with a statement that they will cease listing illegal cannabis businesses by the end of the year, and begin requiring a state license number for all marijuana retail listings on its site. Legal operations have been struggling to compete due to the higher costs of compliance, marketing, branding and packaging, and setting up physical operations. This is a good step towards creating a level playing field for those that play by the rules.
The LA market is one of the most active areas for cannabis sales, and has more than its share of black market and gray market activity that makes it difficult for legal proprietors. While some insiders and pundits see this as capitulating to pressure from regulators and lobbyists for the legal market, Weedmaps is framing this as a proactive move to “foster a flourishing legal market” as stated by CEO Chris Beal in their press release. They also tout some free services for social equity programs that purport to make the boom in cannabis more supportive of those who may have been criminalized for participating in the past. We’ll keep an eye on this space as the marketplace and the rules continue to evolve.