You may have seen starkly designed billboards sprinkled throughout the city, saying things like "States that had legalized marijuana had 25% fewer opioid-related deaths" and "Since legalizing marijuana in 2012, Colorado has had no increase in youth marijuana usage. Neither has Washington." The weed factoids are a project of Weedmaps, the weed dispensary and product website/app and fierce competitor of Leafly, part of their bold effort to share important cannabis statistics. It's not the only bold move the company is making lately.

Weedmaps recently received unhappy emails from Lori Ajax, the chief of California's Bureau Of Cannabis Control (BCC), concerning who the company is allowing to advertise through their app. Smell the Truth reports that Pot Czar Ajax sent a cease-and-desist letter to Weedmaps CEO Doug Francis and President Chris Beals, writing in part, "You are aiding and abetting in violation of state cannabis laws." Her issue is that Weedmaps continues to take advertisements from cannabis dispensaries that are not registered with the state. She demands that the advertisements for these unregulated dispensaries be immediately removed, and that for each one that is not, Weedmaps faces daily criminal and civil penalties.

But Francis and Beals must have been smoking some Confidence Kush, because in a true OG move, they refused to take down the ads, and even wrote a letter back to Ajax, citing protection under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. That's a federal law that doesn't hold a website responsible for the actions of its users. (A law for which the Mercury is super-duper grateful. Many of you make, uh, interesting choices at times.)

A fresh bowl must have motivated the pair to poke the bear, because they later told the LA Times, "We were under the impression that the bureau would focus on getting people licensed before they moved on toward attempting enforcement.” Several bottles of aloe vera were then sent to Ajax to treat that sick burn.

Leafly has come out in support of the BBC's actions, citing their commitment to work only with licensed dispensaries, and stating that part of the cannabis advertising regulations requires a posting of the dispensaries license number in any advertisement.