Weedmaps and California Look Poised for War

The Bureau of Cannabis Control has demanded that a popular directory for marijuana businesses stop listing unlicensed dispensaries on their website and mobile app. This week, the directory shot back, arguing that the state has no authority to make such demands.

The state’s case rests on the wording of the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act which requires marijuana businesses to post their license numbers on advertisements. That’s something the website, Weedmaps, isn’t doing. Furthermore, the state accuses the site of “aiding and abetting” illegal activity by featuring illicit shops.

Weedmaps says it isn’t bound by the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act. It’s citing section 230 of the federal Communications Decency Act instead, which shields websites from liability due to the activity of their users.

The irony of citing federal law in a case surrounding a federally banned substance is a bit comical. But is the legal argument here sound? It depends who you ask.

There’s another argument to be made, and it appears to be one Weedmaps is also raising. The site’s president says California -- and specifically its local governments -- are really to blame for making it too difficult for so many shops to get licensed in the first place.

"It's almost a complete failure of county and local governments to enact any sort of legalization to provide pathways for licensed businesses," said Chris Beals.

Read more at the Sacramento Bee and the Los Angeles Times


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