Prior to recreational cannabis legalization in California, unlicensed cannabis companies proliferated under a system that didn’t require state licenses to operate medical cannabis businesses; however, the opportunity for those operating under the guise of legality is over in California and a popular cannabis dispensary and strain review website is erring on the side of caution when its comes to advertising unlicensed cannabis companies.
On Feb. 7, 2018, Leafly announced that it will no longer permit California’s unlicensed cannabis companies to have listings or advertisements on its website or smartphone app, with the policy change going into effect March 1.
“Businesses that have already received their state or municipal license and validated their license status with Leafly will not see any changes to their accounts. Leafly will credit the accounts of pending licensees and store their current information through the end of 2018 to enable partners to quickly and easily resume advertising when they receive their license,” the company stated in a press release.
On Feb. 6, prior to the press release being issued, Leafly ran Peter Hecht’s article, “Will Cannabis Delivery Survive in California’s Legal Market,” addressing the gray areas that have allowed California’s unauthorized delivery services to thrive and how cities are fighting back.
Considering the nature of the Leafly article and the company’s business model, the article was appended with a note from Bruce Barcott, Deputy Editor at Leafly.
“Peter Hecht’s feature on the future of delivery services in California begs an obvious question: Does Leafly list unlicensed companies, including delivery services, on its dispensary finder?” Barcott wrote. “Until recently, we did. That’s because prior to January 1, 2018, medicinal cannabis companies were allowed under California law, but they were not licensed by the state … . Starting March 1, 2018, Leafly will only list state-licensed retailers and delivery services within the state of California.”
As of yet, it is unclear as to how many listings Leafly’s policy change will affect and how much it will impact the company’s advertising revenue.