The path to the legalization of marijuana has been unique in every region that it has touched, but the road to legitimacy is now more competitive than ever. Popular site, Weedmaps, is known for providing interested customers with easy access to popular dispensaries and their products. However, the information provided might not be as legal as some would expect from a website this large. In a recent letter to the RCMP, several legal cannabis retailers asked for research to be done into the legitimacy of companies represented on the website. The response? Outraged customers. In this article, we will discuss the debate that is currently burning through the cannabis community.
According to eight major Canadian cannabis retailers, Weedmaps isn’t quite as legitimate as it claims to be. Right now, several illegitimate dispensaries are actively operating, advertising, and potentially accepting orders through Weedmaps. The BNN Bloomberg report suggests that thousands of illegal cannabis providers are operating successfully through Weedmaps. These “legacy” operations are entire retailers who are providing cannabis to Canadians, as well as Americans, without the proper licensing. The licensed retailers who coined this letter are concerned that customers cannot distinguish between their stores and the illicit retail operations being conducted through the site.
The Full List of Retailers Includes:
- Hello Cannabis
- Cannabis Plus Store
- High Tide
- Body and Spirit Cannabis
- Donnelly Group
- The House of Cannabis
Though the list of licensed retailers believe that they are working to protect their businesses and potential customers, not everyone feels this way. When the writer of the viral BNN Bloomberg article released the names of the companies in a Tweet for the sake of full disclosure, the people of the internet began to clash. Immediately, calls for the boycotting of these brands began to ring through popular digital platforms.
Many consider it completely inappropriate and an attempt for these companies to get rid of their competition by hiding behind the cover of legality. Some are even pointing out how seemingly unforgivable it is to pull the police into the ordeal with police brutality being brought to light around the globe. In response, Weedmaps even Tweeted their own content in support of changing regulations to support entrepreneurs in the industry rather than punish them.
Despite the calls for boycotts, Superette seems to be the only brand offering a true response. Hello Cannabis and High Tide, in particular, have been completely silent on their pages. However, CEO and Co-Founder, Mimi Lam, of Superette, has broken the silence with an official statement on Twitter addressing the community. She stated that Superette “supports the transition of legacy operators” and “continue[s] to push for progressive policy within [the] legal framework” in their formal Twitter statement. Still, the Twitter community’s response was overwhelmingly negative to this update.
There are two sides to every debate, but there is simply no denying the fact that this has sparked a new discussion in the legacy vs. legal debate. It is clear that the community is pushing for more support for independent cannabis providers, but the future remains unclear. For now, the path to legalization is long, difficult, and costly. As we move towards new regulations and new brands, only time will tell what the future of the industry will look like.