Weedmaps says it will stop promoting unlicensed marijuana businesses by end of year

IRVINE — Facing growing pressure from state regulators and legal vendors, the popular online cannabis shop directory Weedmaps said Wednesday, that it plans to stop carrying listings for unlicensed marijuana businesses before the end of the year.

The Irvine-based company has promoted illicit cannabis shops since its website launched in 2008, when recreational use of marijuana was still illegal in California. The company has continued to list unlicensed shops even as California legalized marijuana and required all businesses to get pricey state licenses, start testing products for safety and pay hefty taxes.

That practice has generated money for Weedmaps from companies knowingly breaking the law, and helped Weedmaps maintain its market share in the world of pot online advertising.

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