Report: Weedmaps is Loaded with Fake Reviews

The service also failed to protect customer information.
Here’s your daily round up of pot news, excerpted from the newsletter WeedWeek.

Irvine, Calif.-based Weedmaps is full of bogus dispensary reviews, according to an investigation by the L.A. Times.

Reporter Paresh Dave looked at nearly 600 businesses reviewed on the site and found that 70% included reviews submitted from a single IP address (i.e. a single computer). A textual analysis found that 62% of reviews on the site are “fake.”

Weedmaps, a Yelp-like service with operations in several states, had stored the IP addresses of anonymous reviewers, in its publicly available code. A Weedmaps executive said the 62% figure is far too high, and emphasized that reviews are only part of the product.

The Sacramento Bees digs up who gave the $6.6M in political contributions to the main group supporting AUMA in California. “Among the donors are those with obvious existing ties to the issue who could profit immensely from a legal marijuana marketplace,” the paper writes. A report estimated that the California market could reach $6.5B by 2020.

Some cannabis activists are voting no in California.

A State Department report criticizes other countries for persecuting people who use marijuana for religious purposes.

Washington state licensed sales spiked to more than $60M in July suggesting that the state’s elimination of the MED market is working as expected.

An Arkansas group is asking the state supreme court to block a MED initiative. Gov. Asa Hutchinson said allowing MED would suck up state resources. Texas is beginning to write CBD rules.

Floridians are squabbling about whether the MED initiative would allow businesses, “to move in right next door to your neighborhood, your church, your business and even your child’s school.”

An Arizona judge threw out a lawsuit to block the state’s REC initiative from appearing on the ballot. An appeal is likely.

Michigan’s Supreme Court will decide whether a REC initiative makes the ballot. A clerical error could complicate Montana’s MED initiative.

Oklahoma’s MED initiative collected (just) enough signatures. Attorney General Scott Pruitt (R) then changed the ballot title to language supporters find misleading. The maneuver could keep it off the ballot. Pruitt helped lead the Oklahoma/Nebraska lawsuit against Colorado that the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear.

Prosecutors in Missouri are trying to block MED from appearing on the ballot. It’s not yet clear if the initiative will qualify. The column by Dave Helling also has a nice discussion of state vs. federal law.