Have you noticed changes to Weedmaps listings?

Published Jan 12, 2021 12:00 p.m. ET
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Weedmaps got a tonne of flak from all directions over 2020, but now the company is making changes that are shocking consumers. Though recreational cannabis is legal in many areas that Weedmaps covers, the platform has long offered a unique set of benefits for those who like to shop on the black market. It's been a reliable friend and connection for millions, but over these last few weeks, users have noticed some pretty big changes to what the website is offering, and it’s definitely not pleasing the largest consumer base, who made Weedmaps a staple in their day to day lives.

What’s changed

You used to be able to visit Weedmaps.com and find listings for all of the dispensaries that are in your immediate area and beyond. Thousands of solid connections were offered here, many of which catered to the needs of consumers by delivering, but a lot of them were unlicensed vendors. All of the illicit dispensaries have now been completely removed from the platform, and that’s why so many are finding some familiar names missing when they use the Weedmaps interactive search feature.

Now, only licensed dispensaries will be allowed to advertise their wares, significantly reducing the total number of listings. Consumers are finding that sought-after conveniences such as delivery are no longer within reach and that all of their favourite black market goodies like edibles are either unavailable, incredibly expensive, or so barely infused that they are ineffective. They’re also facing more limited hours of service, and this is making it a whole lot harder for consumers to find the cannabis products they need.

Why it’s happening

Weedmaps will always hold a place in the hearts of pre-prohibition cannabis users who used the website to gain access to a market that had few options for advertising. Sadly, it seems that they aren’t quite as fond of us as we are of them because they decided to leave all of their loyal customers in the dark by going legal. Weedmaps has gone public, and to make this lucrative move, they need to cut all illicit ties and cease any prohibited activity. That meant a complete purging of all black-market ads and dispensaries in exchange for pot stocks and generous investors.

Will things at Weedmaps ever be the same again?

This is likely one of the best financial moves that could have been made, especially now with so many areas combating black markets and offering legal goods, and it’s a change that will continue well into the foreseeable future. We will eventually see more dispensaries added to the listings on Weedmaps, which should improve access to some extent, but the company has gone legal, so we probably won’t ever see black-market vendors return to the online platform.

Some things won't change at all

Weedmaps might be most well-known due to its attractive black-market offerings, but there are plenty of other things there that will remain the same. You can still surf through a library of thousands of cannabis strains to learn about various effects and terpene profiles, and there will always be informative articles that can help consumers to better understand the plant and its use. Visiting the website can also help to keep you updated on the latest cannabis news.

On Weedmaps, you’ll find that there is some incredibly enlightening information on specific types of cannabis products including things like how to use them and how they’re made. On top of all that, Weedmaps now offers a fairly complete database of all legal dispensaries, something that can really come in handy when you’re on the hunt for your next bag of green, even if you do have to pick it up in person or wait for it to come in the mail.

Disappointed consumers but great news for legal dispensaries

Some estimates place black market sales at around 80% of all weed-related transactions that go down in Canada, and that is a massive number, cutting into the profits of those who jump through all of the necessary hoops to go legal. Weedmaps making this big change might be enough to tip the scales in favor of legitimately licensed dispensaries who are just barely scraping by after making such large investments and paying sky-high taxes. That’s why legal cannabis businesses are celebrating this move as it's a small win in a long fight against illicit competitors.

Others step up in place of Weedmaps

Weedmaps might be stepping down as the most well-known online platform for black market advertising, but this lucrative business isn’t going to left untended. Other websites like Leafythings, S7DAW, Wheresweed, and Ibudtender are filling the gaps that have been left behind by the long-running online platform. None can claim to be as popular or to have as high traffic as Weedmaps did, but they offer a similar experience and direct contacts, which is all a lot of cannabis consumers really care about.

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