Weedmaps is no longer going to allow for or advertise unlicensed cannabis businesses, the company announced on Wednesday, along with plans to provide tools to help social equity entrepreneurs enter the space.
Under the changes, U.S. retailers will be required to provide a state-issued license number on their listing, and Weedmaps is restricting the use of its point of sale, online orders, delivery logistics, and wholesale exchange software-as-a-service platforms exclusively to licensed operators.
CEO Chris Beals said the changes underscore the company’s “commitment to working with lawmakers and regulators to foster a flourishing legal market.”
Last year, the company came under fire by California regulators for mapping and allowing unlicensed cannabusinesses to advertise on the site. The firm argued that advertisers on the platform “represent and warrant” that they comply with local laws and the individual companies were responsible for operating without a license. The Bureau of Cannabis Control never took action against Weedmaps.
Beals said that the company’s new social equity initiative – which includes professional development and support, resources, and access to Weedmaps services free of charge for one year – would help “give a leg up” to qualified applicants.
Julian Canete, president and CEO of the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, said the initiative provides “minority entrepreneurs with the skills, tools and resources they need to compete for those licenses. And get them.”
“Minorities make up the majority of the unlicensed business owners in the cannabis industry – and the overwhelming majority of them want to operate out of the shadows. The best way to address the unlicensed cannabis problem, promote small, minority-owned businesses, and correct social injustice is simple: give more cannabis business licenses to the people who deserve them.” – Canete, in a statement
Beals indicated that, along with the support program, Weedmaps plans on redoubling its efforts to educate local governments about the need for equitable cannabis licensing for medical access and economic development.
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