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Weedmaps won’t offer timeline for ending promotion of illegal marijuana shops

Experts say web company’s ongoing practice contributes to California’s lagging tax revenue, threatens public health.

Though Weedmaps promised two weeks ago that it would stop advertising illicit marijuana businesses through its online directory, the Irvine-based company is still being vague about when that promise will actually become a reality.

Both legal cannabis businesses and state regulators are pushing Weedmaps to start removing hundreds of illegal ads now. Until that happens, they say Weedmaps is continuing to boost illegal operators that undercut legal operators, stifle state tax revenue and, in some cases, make people sick.

“Time is of the essence,” said Jerred Kiloh, president of the United Cannabis Business Association, an industry trade group that’s pushed legislation to penalize promotion of unlicensed operators. “It is crucial to establish a near-term deadline in order to truly protect Californians.”

Weedmaps CEO Chris Beals would only say in an emailed response that the company “will have more to share in the weeks ahead,” while spokesman Travis Rexroad said Tuesday that he’ll have more specifics “in the near future.”

Weedmaps has promoted illicit shops and delivery services since launching its Yelp-like service for the marijuana industry in 2008. The practice continued even after California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control sent Weedmaps a cease-and-desist letter in February 2018. And it’s still going even though Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill that lets regulators fine unlicensed parties up to $30,000 each day that they’re in violation of state cannabis laws, potentially putting Weedmaps on the hook for nearly $1 million in fines since the urgency bill took effect July 1. [Read More @ The Orange County Register]



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