SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Zakia Bouachraoui, Liz McMillan, Carmen Gonzalez, Roger Strukhoff, David Linthicum

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Weedmaps Takes Leadership Role Supporting Minorities in Cannabis and Encouraging Legal Marketplaces

Weedmaps, a leading technology and software infrastructure provider to the cannabis industry, today announced a new set of tools to help social equity cannabis entrepreneurs as they seek to apply for and secure cannabis licenses.

One of the most important and impactful promises of cannabis legalization is that it will give minority entrepreneurs the ability to enter the new industry and help reverse the damages inflicted on those disproportionately affected by the failed “War on Drugs.” Unfortunately, as a result of limited access to capital and limited license opportunities provided by local governments, these entrepreneurs are actually finding it nearly impossible to participate in the legal market.

“Minorities make up the majority of the unlicensed business owners in the cannabis industry--and the overwhelming majority of them want to operate out of the shadows,” noted Julian Canete, president and CEO of the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce.The best way to address the unlicensed cannabis problem, promote small, minority-owned businesses, and correct social injustice is simple: give more cannabis business licenses to the people who deserve them. The Weedmaps initiative will provide minority entrepreneurs with the skills, tools and resources they need to compete for those licenses. And get them.”

In an effort to accelerate more minority and inclusive participation in the cannabis industry and provide the resources that government-sponsored social equity programs may not, Weedmaps is launching a program aimed at supporting these entrepreneurs as they apply for and obtain licenses. The technology and software provider to the cannabis industry for the past decade has launched a first-of-its-kind initiative to help social equity, low-income and minority-owned businesses in the United States enter and thrive in the fast-growing legal cannabis industry.

The company will provide a variety of free services and in-kind offerings to ensure that social equity entrepreneurs have the opportunity to compete in the industry. Among the services and benefits Weedmaps will offer:

  1. Professional development. Weedmaps will provide participants with free, ongoing training on a variety of topics, including navigating licensing and compliance regulations, building successful businesses in the cannabis industry, and leveraging technology to scale. These trainings will be hosted online, as well as in-person across the country.
  2. Ongoing coaching and professional support. The company will conduct periodic consultations with participants to assist and advise on marketing, product selection and regulatory compliance, at no charge.
  3. Resources. As part of the effort, Weedmaps will develop an ongoing library of compliance materials and standard operating procedures that will be provided to participants free of charge. Also, the company will continue to expand the range of free product offerings and support as it launches additional cloud-based enterprise software products in the future.
  4. Free software. Once they have received their license, participants will receive a standard listing on Weedmaps.com and the Weedmaps app for up to one year, representing a $5,000 value. The listing includes access to Weedmaps’ best-in-class logistics and online orders services.

“For too long, unjust laws and regulations have crippled small-business owners who want to make an honest living and provide safe, legal cannabis products to medical patients and adult use consumers,” said Chris Beals, CEO of Weedmaps. “We hope to give a leg up to entrepreneurs that need and deserve support.” Beals also noted that on the public policy front, the company will redouble its efforts to educate local governments across the country on the need for equitable cannabis licensing for medical access and economic development.

While helping social equity businesses get licensed, the company is also committed to helping licensed businesses thrive. Beginning later this year, US retail advertisers on Weedmaps will be required to provide a state license number on their listing. This requirement joins existing consumer information tools offered by the company, including surfacing lab data on product pages and a “Brand Verified” program that combats counterfeiting.

The company is also restricting the use of its point of sale, online orders, delivery logistics, and wholesale exchange software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms to licensed operators exclusively. In addition, Weedmaps will explore ways to make it easier for patients and adult-use consumers to identify the license number on advertised listings.

“These enhancements to existing safeguards on our platform will help patients and adult-use consumers find cannabis retailers that have provided evidence of state licensure,” Beals added. “It also underscores our commitment to working with lawmakers and regulators to foster a flourishing legal market.”

For more information about Weedmaps’ social equity programs, qualified businesses are encouraged to visit www.weedmaps.com/socialequity.

About Weedmaps

Founded in 2008, Weedmaps is a leading technology and software infrastructure provider to the cannabis industry. Our suite of cloud-based software and data solutions includes point of sale, logistics and ordering solutions that enable customers to scale their businesses while complying with the complex and disparate regulations applicable to the cannabis industry.

In addition, our platform provides consumers with information regarding cannabis products across our web and mobile platforms, including listing local retailers and brands, facilitating product discovery and allowing consumers to educate themselves on cannabis and its history, uses and legal status. Headquartered in Irvine, California, Weedmaps employs nearly 500 professionals around the world, including in Barcelona, Berlin, Boston, Denver, New York, Phoenix and Toronto. Visit us at www.weedmaps.com.

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