IRVINE — Facing massive fines from state regulators, Irvine-based Weedmaps has taken major strides toward fulfilling its pledge to drop ads for illicit cannabis shops from its online directory, cutting about 2,700 rogue stores from its site since the start of this year.

The company’s long-awaited move to follow state law is drawing praise from legal cannabis operators. Some licensed stores have seen an uptick in business since Jan. 1, a trend they attribute to Weedmaps making it more difficult for potential customers to find unlicensed competitors.

But Weedmaps’ new filtering system hasn’t prevented all unlicensed operators from advertising on the site, and many in the regulated market are hoping for even more diligent screening by the prominent, industry-driving platform.

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