With recreational marijuana sweeping the nation, startups and investors are finding new ways to cash in on the green revolution.
California’s Silicon Valley is leading the way with tech companies fighting to alter the public’s perception of the marijuana smoker from the ’60’s Rasta stoner to a sleek millennial-inspired user.
This isn’t your parent’s marijuana and the growing industry is ripe for exploitation and many new startups are hoping to take advantage of the relatively open playing field.
Once a back alley operation, the legal marijuana industry has blossomed into a $3 billion powerhouse complete with its political special interest group.
Four states and District of Columbia have legalized marijuana while 23 other states have eased restrictions. At the federal level, however, the drug remains classified as Schedule 1, without any redeeming value.
Weedmaps founder and CEO Justin Hartfield told the New York Times that California’s Silicon Valley was leading the way in the marijuana and technology revolution.
“California is the biggest domino. Once California goes legal, very shortly after we’ll have a majority of states where adult use is legal.”
The online community of WeedMaps functions much like Yelp, with users rating the services and quality of local dispensaries. The free site has a massive online list of marijuana dispensaries including hours of operation, websites, and locations. Users can also join forums and chat online.
Launched in 2013, the business generates some 50,000 unique views every month, which translates to $39 million a year, reports Heavy.
“That’s why our logo’s a smiley face. That’s what happens after you smoke, you can’t help yourself, you have to smile.”
— CNET (@CNET) November 28, 2015
If you need a medical marijuana prescription, but don’t want to leave your home then the online startup SpeedWeed is just what you need. Founded as a marijuana delivery business servicing Los Angeles and Orange County, SpeedWeed now offers telemedicine appointments that patients can use to get a marijuana prescription, reports Forbes.
“Delivery has been convenient and private, and patients wanted their doctor’s appointment to be convenient and private as well.”
After their video conference with a doctor, patients can immediately order the marijuana they’ve been recommended. The company serves an average of 2,500 to 5,000 customers a month and generates some $200,000 to $300,000 a month.
HelloMD, founded as a way to connect patients with doctors online, has shifted their focus to medical marijuana; they’ve partnered with SpeedWeed to make it easier for patients to get the medicine they need.
With a short video call, patients can get a medical marijuana referral, medical marijuana card and physician follow-up. By using the internet to get a marijuana prescription, users are able to keep their identity and use a secret from the public.
The company serves 200 to 300 patients a week, according to TechSpective.
The marijuana social media app that connects pot smokers may be the first cannabis company to be openly traded on the Nasdaq stock exchange. MassRoots is an Instagram/Twitter/Facebook-like social media app that allows marijuana smokers to post pictures, share tips, like, comment and interact with each other.
The stoner-friendly social media app went public this year as a penny stock and currently trades somewhere around $1.39 a share; the company must up that value to $3 if they hope to make to the Nasdaq.
Emerging technology is opening the growing marijuana industry to investors who are hoping to cash in on the green revolution.
A growing number of marijuana businesses are hoping to cash in on emerging technology and market trends just as Lyft, Uber, and Airbnb have done.
[Photo by David McNew/Getty Images]