For almost a decade, there has been an app for just about any product or problem that is present in your life. Dating, shopping and even dog walking—there is an app for all of them. Despite being recreationally and/or medically legal in many states, the marijuana industry spent a few years missing out on this opportunity as there have been numerous regulations preventing marijuana-centric apps from making their way onto your smartphones. Now though, there is no shortage of convenient digital tools for informing purchases, finding a local shop or even growing your own digital garden.
One of the largest apps in the marketplace is WeedMaps. Starting as a website in 2007, they are one of the marijuana support systems that have been around the longest. Primarily a way to find dispensaries, WeedMaps is an easy way not only discover resources in your area, but to also find reviews on them. The application claims the largest collected resource of doctors, dispensaries, product reviews and menus in its niche. With a user-base of 640,000 and over 800,000 reviews, it claims to be the app for “all you need in weed.”
With both a website and application, BlazeNow is a similar app that works to provide local dispensary and recreational information as well as help finding doctors, marijuana paraphernalia, news articles and marijuana recipes. Additionally, BlazeNow has begun to work with dispensary owners, exchanging tools with the owners for data collected regarding its users. By working with shop owners, BlazeNow can provide up-to-date pricing and menu information to users.
One focus of the online application industry is marijuana delivery services, but this has run into numerous legal problems. So far, only medical marijuana has really gotten into this market and Eaze and GreenRush are forerunners. These apps provide a service to get dispensary products to the doors of medicinal users in California.
GreenRush is furthering its business by exclusively partnering with dispensaries, but also making it clear it wants to help smaller businesses by incorporating them into the service. According to GreenRush CEO Paul Warshaw, “We are getting their brand in front of thousands of people.”
Applications for your phone do not just provide practical services, though; marijuana-themed games are quickly growing in popularity. Popping up on both Android and Apple systems, these games are aimed at many different kinds of gamers. There are farming apps such as Weed Garden Online, similar to the popular FarmVille on Facebook, that allow you to open your own medical marijuana farm. If you are in the mood to make edibles, there is even an app called Weed Bakery. It allows you to open an edible bakery in Colorado with the goal of your store producing the “hottest Marijuana edibles in the state.”
These applications didn’t instantly find success, though, as there were many roadblocks to getting and keeping such applications on smartphones. MassRoots (OTCQB: MSRT), a social media app aimed at marijuana users, was pulled from Apple’s App Store earlier this year due to store’s guidelines regarding illegal substances. MassRoots was a large proponent in reversing this position and started a petition asking Apple to amend its stance. Specifically, MassRoots cited the fact that almost half the United State’s population has access to legal marijuana in one form or another. Eventually, the app was allowed back into the store with geolocation restrictions.
Apps may seem to be a convenient tool for the user, but their ease of access and use might prove to be just as important as any other face that a company presents to the public. iPhone users alone download two billion apps a month, and each app is then carried around all day in a pocket or purse. If well developed, a cannabis-related app has the potential to encourage daily interaction between users and a company, creating brand loyalty before the industry hits full speed.