“The real underlying problem is that there’s insufficient licenses address to market demand.”

-WeedMaps CEO

The marijuana black market continues to pummel the now 2-year-old legal one in the state of California.

Legal license holders are outnumbered by a ratio as high as 3-to-1, as per a report released by their guild this month. Weedmaps, a website that allows anyone to advertise their businesses – licensed or not – has received some flak from critics who label them as partially responsible for the situation. 

However, the government is intervening – serving publications that continue to advertise unlicensed cannabis businesses with a notice of the illegality of their practices. 

“Failure to comply with the requirements for advertising may lead to significant financial penalties,” said an email by the Bureau of Cannabis Control.

The report, conducted by a guild of legal merchants of the plant-based in California,  highlights that 2019 has been a difficult year thus far due to, besides illegal commercialization of their product, a ban by many of the state’s cities and high taxes. They say that these issues have helped strengthen the black market. 

The United Cannabis Business Association, as the guild is named, tallied 2,835 illegal sellers – a stark contrast from the barely 873 state license holders. The numbers were part of an open letter addressed to Governor Gavin Newsom and state cannabis magnate Lori Ajax. 

“We’re the only state to go recreational and see a year-over-year reduction in legal sales,” UCBA president Jerred Kiloh said.