Weedmaps has promised to remove black market cannabis dispensaries, but is it true?

Published Oct 11, 2019 09:00 a.m. ET
iStock / OlegMalyshev

Consumers are living in an exciting time where the prevalence of internet access makes finding the best or closest marijuana dispensary a simple process that takes mere minutes to complete. Now for those who are less exposed to the illegal sides of cannabis culture, it might come as a surprise to learn that there are likely hundreds of different cannabis dispensaries close enough to drive to if you live in Canada.

Other regions have also dealt with this issue, and it is because of platforms that make it easy for illicit suppliers to sell their products to consumers. The average city in Canada has a mere 1-6 marijuana dispensary locations that are licensed, while each one can boast an average of up 20 or more black market shops. This is the reason why the government, cannabis companies, and concerned citizens have been putting pressure on marijuana dispensary listing websites to use more rigorous standards to force the closing of many illicit locations.

What is Weedmaps?

Weedmaps is one of those online platforms, which operates similarly to Kijiji, with a few minor exceptions, and the main one being, of course, that companies who wish to list products must be selling cannabis-derived goods. With one or two clicks, you can find a map of your local area with all marijuana dispensary listings that are located near to you, including physical storefronts, weed delivery and mail order services.

Weedmaps charges all listers according to how much they pay, and there are absolutely no qualifications that are required by the platform to prove that you are a legitimate or real business at all. What that means is that for the right price, anyone could get an official-looking ad on Weedmaps with no trouble at all, and anyone who dishes out for this service is immediately connected to ready, waiting and willing customers; Many of which believe that they are ordering from real, legitimate and reliable dispensaries.

The Promise

Weedmaps is one of the largest online illegal connections that has been until recently, left alone to conduct business in whatever way that they see fit. Now the pressure is on from both the government and many of the current financial supports of the Weedmapsplatform, and in response, the company promised to stop advertising for unlicensed vendors.

How consumers feel about the proposed changes to Weedmaps


Marijuana legalization was a massive success that had thousands of people all over the world rejoicing in the celebration, but the reality of this new industry is nothing like what most cannabis enthusiasts had originally envisioned. A quick visit to your local licensed marijuana dispensary and you will see how high the costs are for the simplest products.

Between added government taxes and artificially inflated prices, the average cost of dry herb from legal sources can cost nearly double street market value, and so far, its customers are not willing to line up to pay so much. Since most consumers use Weedmaps for their convenient weed delivery services, which come mainly from illegal vendors, they weren’t happy to hear the news, as most relied on the savings for their daily necessities.

Have any adjustments been made to Weedmaps listings so far?

Faithful Weedmaps customers are relieved to find that there hasn’t been any real change from featured sellers, and the only difference that has occurred is an official-looking stamp of approval that can supposedly be garnered by proving to sell products from legitimate manufacturers. There is still no need to prove that you are law-abiding or licensed in any way to post an ad.

Is it all a lie?

Only time will reveal the true intentions of the makers of Weedmaps, but for now, it seems like the company is taking this threat as unimportant, and that they only made the promise to remove the media spotlight for a while. Though they seemed to be taking concerns seriously, consumers aren’t going to be missing out on their fast and convenient weed delivery service anytime soon.

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