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Why Is Leafly Removing Unlicensed California Cannabis Dispensaries From Its Finder?

February 27, 2018
Why Is Leafly Removing Unlicensed California Cannabis Dispensaries From Its Finder?(choness/iStock)
Beginning March 1, 2018, Leafly’s dispensary finder will no longer list California cannabis dispensaries and delivery services that lack state licenses permitting them to operate. The state has made clear that only licensed retailers and delivery services may advertise via technology platforms.

This was a difficult decision internally and one that we recognize may inconvenience some of our valued medical patients, adult-use consumers, and longtime dispensary partners. A key piece of Leafly’s mission is to help people find cannabis, and, as such, removing businesses isn’t a move we take lightly.


California Sends ‘Several Hundred’ Warning Letters to Unlicensed Cannabis Businesses

Since the state began issuing licenses, however, a steadily widening gap has opened up between state-licensed companies and those operating illegally. In February 2018, state regulators sent hundreds of letters to unlicensed businesses advising them to cease operation or risk criminal and civil penalties. Some reports have linked illegal shops to underage sales or other violations of state law, actions that Leafly does not condone.

While California’s rollout of legalization certainly hasn’t been perfect, Leafly supports the move toward a legal, regulated cannabis market. We also encourage regulators at the state and local levels to speed the licensing process and reconsider barriers to entry to the legal market so that all Californians can share in the benefits of legalization.


In LA, Legal Cannabis Stores Call for Crackdown on Illegal Pop-Ups

Wait, I Have a License!

We want to give consumers as many options as possible. If your cannabis business has recently obtained a license or you believe it’s been removed from Leafly in error, let us know! Drop us a line at, and we’ll work to get you up and running.

Oh No, I Need a License!

Operators seeking a state license can apply through the Bureau of Cannabis Control’s website or contact the bureau by phone at (833) 768-5880.

Leafly Staff's Bio Image

Leafly Staff

Leafly is the world’s largest cannabis information resource, empowering people in legal cannabis markets to learn about the right products for their lifestyle and wellness needs. Our team of cannabis professionals collectively share years of experience in all corners of the market, from growing and retail, to science and medicine, to data and technology.

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  • Dan King

    Good move, its the right thing to do as we , very slowly, progress towards full acceptance on a national level.

  • DoomedNY

    Who would still carry that list? Weedmaps?

  • Craig

    This is a direct result of the unfair special taxes laid upon the dispensaries. Any dumb ass could see this coming including those pols who pushed it through!

  • PatrickMonkRn

    Have you taken a stand against corporate profiteers working to monopolize the market by accumulating multiple licenses for mega grows thereby threatening the survival of independent, organic, craft, small farmers. Or do you have to much invested in the Greed Rush.

  • Tomkat

    As many of us believe the consolidation of services is going to hurt patents. I do appreciate the sin taxes going to help drug treatment centers, the poor and best of all the underfunded disempowered police. But California legalization is going two ways a big hmo style or a series of changes will be made to fix the damage done to medical patients. I like leafly and your podcasts, it is a shame to see you being forced to limit access. I hope you will still have a rite to challenge the agenda of big weed.corp

  • Jonathonsdaddy

    I recently visited a dispensary in Santa Ana CA that had 3 ARMED guards on site !
    1 in the parking lot and 2 inside where the products were being displayed .
    This is the one and only place I have seen this in O.C. .

    I recently read that if a person is caught with over an ounce of cannabis , they
    will be fined ( over 21 years age ) a small dollar amount , with no jail time .
    If the same individual is also in possession of a fire arm , this now becomes
    a FEDERAL offense . Meaning the judge would impose Mandatory JAIL time
    and very high fines !

    Why would a business be exempt from this ?

    Cannabis is still federally illegal in every state , including CA .
    I know Obama told the feds to stay out of the legal states ,
    but this seems unusual to a layperson like myself .

    • Adrian Aghaie

      Oh shut up.

      • Jonathonsdaddy

        Our bank does not have armed guards !

  • Jose Herrera

    I believe that every dispensary deserves to have a inevitable right to be checked and balanced for the good of its own californian patients and rec sales first. So that second, we are able to come to a set price to help for decriminalization of marijuana in the near future years to come. Thirdly, to make it an easier access to those who not only need, but who also need and undestand medical and recreational marijuana’s unhelpful and helpful uses. In addition, to whom itmay concern look that this is televised to be adressed in a timely manner.

  • Jose Herrera

    We have to focus on the solution and not the problems stop over thinking and let the public and the medical patients decide. For example, just like the Obama Care reform. Why not make something alike for the independent growers to have there own Union foundation that is provided from the government funds per say. For example, they can create, “Canna Care act” Just like the government has the rights to regulate all the pharmaceuticals without hesitation or issuing any penalties. And lastly, correcting the problem faster can happen even by televising the solution. Just like in the T.V. commercials where we see it may be harmful to the consumer to use the pills that are man made and threatens our health and its televised. So, can also this “Canna Care Act” can be voted into play as an everlasting role in society, to benifit mostly medical patients and recreational purposes first and the government dirty fingers second. Rather than only adressing the greed rush of the money behind the sales first. California has to look at it from a long term point of view to be able to stabalize all the unlicensed dispensaries to include them in this new “Canna Care Reform Act” that will fix all this mess that can be fixed now with all this new 2018 technology. I pray that in Jesus name we find the right man for this project, to come forward just as I explained to end this madness. Please and Thank You, to whom it may concern. Hint hint government needs to be fair to independent growers when addressing this issue. So that the medical patients rights are respected and recreational use as well. And so everyone wins in this reform 2018. May the joy of the Lord of Lords Jesus be with you in peace. Amen

  • Tristan gummow

    Spoken like a company with a blatant conflict of interest. Running a review/info site while owning Tilray is an obvious faux pas