Martin Olive, the executive director of San Francisco’s oldest cannabis dispensary, began noticing something was amiss at the beginning of this year.

His shop, Vapor Room, used a third-party SMS marketing platform to send automated text messages with sales and specials to his customers. But not all of his patrons were receiving the texts, and, after running several tests, he realized he wasn’t receiving them on his own phone, either. Between January and March, as fewer and fewer texts reached his customers, sales began to decline. When his contract ended with the marketing platform in June, he didn’t renew it.

Martin Olive, executive director of Vapor Room, inside the SoMa dispensary on Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)

“It wasn’t like there was a mass filtering out of messages, but a percentage were,” said Olive. “It was just so inconsistent.”

Several months ago, major cellular service providers like Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile updated the rules they set for which phone numbers they block from reaching their customers. The rules were designed to improve deliverability and protect customers from spam via a two-pronged approach: requiring businesses to register with SMS providers, and filtering out text messages from

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