This week, Weedmaps announced it will eventually stop allowing illegal cannabis businesses to advertise on its platform. This has been a long time coming with legal cannabis businesses working their tails off to make it while black market enterprises continue to flourish. Platforms such as Weedmaps became the flashpoint between the two parties as legal businesses pushes for the bureaus to enforce compliance.
What does this mean? It means as more and more companies, platforms, and the like pushes legal cannabis – it becomes ever increasingly important to ensure you have the right licenses to legally operate your cannabis business. In addition, it also shows that local, state, and federal agencies are taking a very close look at the marketing activities from cannabis companies.
But insiders know, a new bill could have largely influenced such decisions.
A new law signed by California’s Governor in July 2019, Assembly Bill 97 – has already given the enforcing agencies the tools it needs to force companies like Weedmaps to comply. The statute includes a possible $30,000-a-day fine for violations that could apply to companies that don’t hold state cannabis business licenses.
The bill also includes a new $30,000-a-day administrative fine against unlicensed cannabis businesses. The fine can be levied by any of the three state licensing agencies – the Bureau of Cannabis Control, Department of Food and Agriculture and Department of Public Health.
See Section 26031.5. of Assembly Bill 97 (full signed Assembly Bill No. 97)
(a) A licensing authority may issue a citation to a licensee or unlicensed person for any act or omission that violates or has violated any provision of this division or any regulation adopted pursuant thereto. The licensing authority shall issue the citation in writing, and shall describe with particularity the basis of the citation and the notification described in subdivision (c). The licensing authority may include in each citation an order of abatement and fix a reasonable time for abatement of the violation. The licensing authority may, as part of each citation, assess an administrative fine not to exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000) per violation by a licensee and thirty thousand dollars ($30,000) per violation by an unlicensed person. Each day of violation shall constitute a separate violation. In assessing a fine, a licensing authority shall give due consideration to the appropriateness of the amount of the fine with respect to factors the licensing authority determines to be relevant, including the following: